The letter signed by Norman Massry seemed too good to be true.
Members of the Glenville Rotary Club were under the belief they were getting a $2 million donation from the owner of Tri-City Rentals, a massive real estate firm based in Albany. But in actuality, the alleged donation was a convoluted scheme perpetrated by a series of lies by a St. Rose College student hoping to pay his fall tuition.
“The whole thing was just a facade,” Acting Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said today.
Patrick M. DiDomenico, 20, of Catskill, was charged with misdemeanor third-degree forgery and felony attempted identity theft Friday. Investigators said he impersonated Massry in the letter in an attempt to curry favor with an office manager at St. Rose and secure employment at the college so he could lower his tuition.
Apple said the scheme started to unfold sometime in June, when DiDomenico’s parents apparently refused to pay his tuition. Massry, who sits on the St. Rose Board of Trustees, apparently gave the student a low-level job with his company to help him out.
DiDomenico allegedly authored a donation letter using Massry’s name and gave it to the St. Rose employee, who was also president of the Glenville Rotary. When the club contacted Massry with the hope of honoring him for his donation at the Gift of Life foundation’s award dinner, he told them there must be a mistake.
“He tried to do the right thing and the kid totally took advantage of him,” Apple said.
Strangely enough, DiDomenico’s fraud didn’t end with his alleged impersonation of Massry. DiDomenico produced authentic-looking job applications for Tri-City Rentals and solicited four of his friends to work with the company by promising them higher wages.
All four quit jobs they had at Home Depot in order to accept DiDomenico’s bogus offer. Apple wasn’t sure why DiDomenico tried to trick his friends, considering he had no means to pay them the wages he promised.
“I think the kid was starting to believe his own lies,” he said.
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Categories: Schenectady County