Warren County

Burnt Hills man convicted in $250K Lake George watershed funds theft

Burnt Hills resident could face up to 15 years in prison
David Decker, executive director of the Lake George Watershed Coalition.
David Decker, executive director of the Lake George Watershed Coalition.

Categories: News, Saratoga County

LAKE GEORGE — The former director of the Lake George Watershed Coalition was convicted on Friday of second-degree grand larceny, scheming to defraud and false filing charges, state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said.

David Decker, 69, of Burnt Hills, was convicted in Warren County Court of two counts of second-degree grand larceny, and first-degree scheming to defraud. He was acquitted of the most serious charge of corrupting the government.

Decker was accused of diverting federal and state grant funds meant to improve the area surrounding Lake George, according to DiNapoli. The conviction followed a four-week trial. Decker has maintained his innocence, and an appeal is expected, according to the Glens Falls Post-Star.

“From sham companies to fake invoices, Mr. Decker took advantage of his position to enrich himself at the expense of the communities he was appointed to serve,” DiNapoli said. “I thank District Attorney Jason Carusone and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for their exemplary work and partnership with my office to bring Decker to justice.” 

Decker was ordered held without bail, and is scheduled to be sentenced by County Court Judge John Hall on June 11. He faces a maximum of 15 years in jail.

Decker was originally indicted on 22 charges in 2018, after the Comptroller’s Office, which oversees audits of public funds, alleged that Decker took $500,000 through inflated invoices, double-billed state and federal grants; and took subcontractors’ pay and falsifying grant invoices. By the time the case went to trial, he faced just eight counts involving about $250,000 in thefts. The alleged thefts took place between 2012 and 2016; Decker was arrested in 2017 following an investigation.

The Lake George Watershed Coalition was a loose coalition of municipal and environmental groups around Lake George that did environmental improvement projects, including the construction of a water-filtering wetland at the site of the former Gaslight Village amusement park.

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