SCHENECTADY -- A former state employee who used to live in Halfmoon has admitted to stealing from the state Workers' Compensation Board, headquartered in Schenectady, by cashing checks being sent to him in error, state Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro said Friday.
Luis Torres, 67, who now lives in Florida, pleaded guilty to in Schenectady City Court on Friday to a misdemeanor larceny charge. He was fined $1,000 and agreed to reimburse the state $10,121.
Torres, who was a district manager for the Workers' Compensation Board, was accused of stealing the money by repeatedly cashing payroll tax reimbursement checks to which he wasn't entitled, Tagliafierro said.
An investigation by the state Inspector General's Office found that Torres went out on workers' compensation leave for a single day in September 2017, and by regulation was sent a check for the payroll taxes withheld from him for that day. Due to an error, however, payroll tax reimbursement checks kept being sent to Torres each pay period for more than a year. Tagliafierro said Torres kept depositing those checks, as well as his regular payroll checks, even though he wasn't entitled to them.
The theft continued through December 2018. Torres retired from the state in January 2019.
"This defendant knew full well the difference between receiving a gift and stealing, and his actions were nothing short of fragrant thefts," Tagliafierro said.
Torres was arrested by state police. Schenectady County prosecuted the case.