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Wormuth gets 10 months in jail for stealing campaign funds

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Wormuth gets 10 months in jail for stealing campaign funds

Former Halfmoon town supervisor Melinda "Mindy" Wormuth was sentenced to 10 months in jail this morn
Wormuth gets 10 months in jail for stealing campaign funds
Mindy Wormuth walks from the Saratoga Courthouse in Albany with her attorney E.Stewart Jones on Monday morning December 14, 2015 after a 10 month sentencing.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Former Halfmoon town supervisor Melinda "Mindy" Wormuth was sentenced to 10 months in jail this morning for stealing campaign funds, ending a pair of court cases against the former town official accused of corruption.

The sentencing in Saratoga County Court by Judge Matthew Sypniewski resolves the grand larceny case brought by the state attorney general. Wormuth, 48, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny in August for taking $5,500 in campaign funds for her personal use in 2013.

Last week, she was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison on separate charges that she took a bribe from undercover investigators to endorse state mixed marshal arts legislation. The state sentence will be served at the same time, allowing her to serve her entire sentence in a federal facility.

While Wormuth apologized for her actions during her federal court appearance, today she did not speak in court other than to answer procedural questions from the judge.

"I did my speaking in court," she said when reporters pressed her for comment as she rapidly walked to a car with her attorney, E. Stewart Jones of Troy.

Jones wouldn't say that she was untrapped by investigators, but he did note that undercover FBI agents approached her in the 2013 operation that led to her arrest.

"Undercover agents came to her, she did not come to them," he said. "They wanted more than she was able to give them."

Jones implied that while she was the only Halfmoon official arrested, federal investigators may have been casting a wider net.

"They thought she might be a small fish in a very big pond," he said. "That turned out not to be the case."

Wormuth, who served three terms as supervisor before losing the endorsement of the Republican party in 2013, is to surrender to federal authorities on Jan. 26, allowing her to spend the holidays with her family.

Wormuth told investigators she stole the campaign funds -- a series of checks from developer Bruce Tanski -- because she was bitter about losing the Republican establishment's support, which happened as rumors of an ijnvestigation swirled.

As part of her plea bargain, remaining funds in the Friends of Mindy Wormuth campaign account -- roughly $30,000 -- will be distributed to charities to be approved by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office.

"This sentencing makes it clear that if a public official misuses campaign funds, they will face consequences, including jail time," Schneiderman said in a statement soon after the sentencing.

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