Schenectady County

Ex-director admits theft of $50K from county

The former director of Schenectady County’s Department of Weights and Measures admitted Monday to ta

The former director of Schenectady County’s Department of Weights and Measures admitted Monday to taking more than $50,000 from the county.

Christopher Todd Godlewski, 41, pleaded guilty in Schenectady County Court to one count of third-degree grand larceny, a felony.

In return for his plea, Godlewski is to be sentenced in December to six months in jail. He also agreed to resign from his position retroactive to the date of his arrest, March 25, and repay all the money he took, totaling $50,800.

In court Monday, Godlewski turned over a check for the full restitution amount. The check is to go to the county’s insurer. He also turned over the letter of resignation.

Godlewski admitted to taking the money from December 2009 to the time of his arrest. No reason was given in court for the thefts.

Prior to taking the plea, during standard questioning by Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago, Godlewski told her he suffers from anxiety and depression. No link, though, was made between that and the thefts.

Godlewski’s attorney, James Knox, declined to comment afterward. Also attending the proceedings were Godlewski’s parents. The case was prosecuted by Katie McCutcheon. She could not be reached for comment later.

Godlewski is to surrender to begin serving his sentence next month and is scheduled to be formally sentenced Dec. 5.

Godlewski was arrested in March after a joint investigation by state police and the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office.

Godlewski’s work with the county was to oversee the accuracy of devices such as scales or gasoline pumps and impose fines on retailers and manufacturers when they violate regulations or defraud the public. Godlewski was accused of soliciting funds which were then sent to his own post office box and deposited into his Bank of America account, officials have said.

Godlewski acted alone, officials said. He was able to divert fees by stealing amounts that would only be considered as minor fluctuations in fine collection totals.

Officials have said the investigation had started after irregularities were detected in March by county Finance Commissioner Deborah Mancini. Mancini became aware of improper paperwork and accounts in addition to a notice about a fee that required payment to an unauthorized post office box and bank account.

Mancini then notified Schenectady County Attorney Christopher Gardner and County Manager Kathleen Rooney, and they then presented their suspicions to Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney.

The investigation then led to search warrants for Godlewski‘s house, office and bank.

Schenectady County Attorney Christopher Gardner said Monday that the fact Godlewski’s actions were uncovered shows the system works.

“However,” Gardner said, “further redundancies have been built into the system, which will help prevent anything like this ever happening again.”

Godlewski’s salary with the county was about $62,000. He hadn’t been paid since his arrest, Gardner said,

The position also had been eliminated from the county’s 2012 budget, but was restored, as it was viewed as self-funding.

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