State Police arrested the Wright highway superintendent on felony fraud charges after he allegedly manipulated town logs to conceal his theft of more than 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
Harry F. Beninati, 54, of Picket Hill Road in Berne, was charged with a felony count of falsifying business records following a three-month investigation by state police. He was also charged with misdemeanor counts of official misconduct and petit larceny after he turned himself in to authorities Thursday, police said.
Investigators began probing the case about three months ago. Police believe Beninati directed town employees to stop filling out fuel logs in order to conceal the diesel he was apparently taking himself.
Because the fuel logs were not completed, town officials were unable to account for the 8,060 gallons of fuel purchased by Wright during the time Beninati became highway superintendent. Falsifying business with the intent to commit another crime rose to the level of a felony, according to police..
Beninati was issued an appearance ticket and appeared in Wright Town Court last week. The Schoharie County District Attorney’s office assisted in the investigation.