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Ex-Mayfield clerk pleads guilty to stealing taxpayer money

Ex-Mayfield clerk pleads guilty to stealing taxpayer money

State: $35,000 taken
Ex-Mayfield clerk pleads guilty to stealing taxpayer money
Dorothy Hart pictured in inset
Photographer: Photo provided

MAYFIELD -- Former Mayfield Town Clerk Dorothy Hart pleaded guilty Tuesday to grand larceny for stealing about $35,000 from property taxes and fees, according to state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Hart was arrested June 5, 2018 by state police and charged with two felony counts of third-degree grand larceny. 

On Tuesday Hart, 64, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 23. The maximum penalty for fourth-degree grand larceny is four years in state prison, but guilty pleas typically reduce penalties.

DiNapoli's office said Hart used her position as town clerk to pocket more than $27,000 in property taxes and more than $8,000 in dog licensing fees.

An investigation by state and local officials determined Hart submitted false monthly reports from January 2011 to February 2015 to the town supervisor and falsely claimed she turned over portions of the dog licensing money to the county treasurer.

Hart resigned her elected office as town clerk in 2017. She was replaced by current Town Clerk Nancy Parker. 

"Ms. Hart tried to game the system and used her position of trust to steal tens of thousands in public funds,” DiNapoli stated in a news release.

"I thank Fulton County District Attorney Chad Brown and New York State Police for their diligent work in helping us hold Ms. Hart accountable."

Hart was not the only elected Mayfield official charged with a crime in 2018. On April 19, 2018, state police arrested Highway Superintendent Melvin Dopp on misdemeanor counts of official misconduct and theft of services.

Dopp had been accused of using town employees and equipment on town time to haul about 10 tons of town-owned stone to his personal driveway.

Dopp was sentenced for theft of services in May and given a one-year conditional discharge, 150 hours of community service and was required to repay $700 to the town.

At the time of the two arrests Town Supervisor Richard Argotsinger said the Town Board has no oversight over the elected clerk and elected highway superintendent. He said the only way to change that would be through a town referendum. 

Argotsinger and the other members of the Town Council were unavailable for comment Tuesday night.

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