The former owner of Johnstown glovemaker Joseph P. Conroy Inc. must report to prison next month for embezzling nearly $356,000 from the company’s retirement savings fund.
Brian J. Conroy of Gloversville pleaded guilty in December 2009 to stealing funds from the company account from 2001-07, at one point draining it of all but $10.29. He was sentenced Sept. 12 to one year and one day in federal prison.
“This case is an important case,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Grogan. “It’s a sad case — sad for Mr. Conroy, sad for these employees. I mean, most of these victims were longtime employees of a very successful and well-managed outfit. But then things went south for the company.”
After repeated delays at his attorney’s request, Conroy was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas McAvoy in Albany. In addition to the prison time, Conroy was ordered to serve an additional three years’ supervised release and must repay $178,010 to the employees whose retirement money he stole.
“Hopefully the restitution will be made good,” Grogan said. “It will be out there forever until it’s paid off. Some of those victims suffered real hardship as a result of Mr. Conroy’s actions.”
Conroy can report Oct. 11 to begin serving his sentence, Grogan said.
Conroy was president of the company at 110 S. Market St. that his father, Joseph, started during World War II. It once manufactured gloves for L.L. Bean and remains in operation as one of the last glove manufacturers in Fulton County.
Grogan filed a sentencing recommendation with the court earlier this year asking for a prison term of 24 months for Conroy. Another recommendation offered by Grogan called for only 18 months in prison, since some of the money in the pension fund was Conroy’s.
During the seven-year period, Conroy drained retirement accounts of between $27,000 and $81,000. He also led employees to believe their funds were in good standing and even “generating good interest.”
“It’s not my position to say why, but Mr. Conroy, in an act of desperation, raided the retirement to try and keep his company running,” Grogan said.
After pleading guilty, Conroy’s case was postponed several times, with his lawyer, George E. Baird Jr., saying the time would allow Conroy to sell company inventory and use any of the proceeds to directly repay victims. Two victims were paid off while the investigation was continuing, Grogan said.
The account Conroy stole from served eight people, including himself. Five people are still waiting to be repaid, Grogan said.
Several of the employees Conroy stole from had worked at Joseph P. Conroy Inc. for more than 25 years.
“The general basis for the delays was a statement to the effect that a delay would provide Mr. Conroy more time to make good on the restitution,” Grogan said. “And it didn’t actually work out that way. But that’s what he was hoping for. I don’t doubt his sincerity, but he just didn’t raise much.”
Baird could not be reached for comment.
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Categories: Schenectady County