|Posted: September 8, 2005, 3:03 pm - IP Logged|
This has no direct link to lotteries, but it makes you think.
Outside Auditor Indicted in LI School Scandal
Sep 8, 2005 2:06 pm US/Eastern
An outside accountant hired to guard the bookkeeping at a Long Island school district where $11.2 million was allegedly pilfered by employees was charged Thursday in a 26-count indictment, accused of falsifying records to help cover up the stealing, a prosecutor said.
Andrew Miller, 56, a partner in the now-defunct firm of Miller Lilly & Pearce, is the fifth person _ including the former superintendent of schools _ to be criminally charged in the scandal that has rocked the affluent Roslyn School District in the past year.
He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment to 10 counts of falsifying business records, 10 counts of tampering with physical evidence, three counts of tampering with public records and three counts of offering a false instrument for filing. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court on Sept. 27. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison.
Previously charged were: Frank Tassone, 58, of Manhattan, the former superintendent, accused of stealing more than $2 million in district funds; Pamela Gluckin, 59, of Bellmore, a former assistant superintendent accused of more than $4 million in thefts; and Gluckin's niece, Debra Rigano, 46, of Mamaroneck, a former account clerk accused of taking more than $780,000.
The fourth defendant is Stephen Signorelli, 60, who shares an apartment with Tassone. He is charged with helping Tassone steal at least $219,000 by submitting phony and padded invoices for the printing of school handbooks in Roslyn.
The schools in Roslyn, 20 miles from Manhattan, are among the best in the state. The district, where homes frequently sell for millions, sends 95 percent of its high school graduates to college, and SAT scores are among the best in the nation.
Although an audit by state Comptroller Alan Hevesi earlier this year found that $11.2 million had been pilfered from the Roslyn School District between 1996 and 2004, prosecutors so far have only been able to document $7 million in alleged thefts by the four defendants.
The money was allegedly used to pay for flights aboard the Concorde for vacations in England, and mortgage payments for homes in Florida, the Hamptons and Pennsylvania. More than $1 million allegedly was stolen via ATM cash advances and prosecutors said the defendants even had their dry cleaning and cable TV bills picked up by taxpayers.
Nassau County District Attorney Denis Dillon said that when Tassone became aware that he was the subject of an investigation in February 2004, he allegedly sought Miller's help in ``cleaning up'' the school district's financial records.
Miller is accused of logging on to a district computer and changing the names of phony vendors _ allegedly set up by Tassone so he could personally receive district payments _ to the names of actual vendors doing legitimate business with the district, Dillon said.
``Miller was familiar with the Roslyn School District computer software, which was created by a company called Finance Manager, of which Miller was a founder and a 45 percent stockholder,'' said Dillon. ``From that point forward (the records) would show the false names instead of the actual parties to whom the payments had been made.''
Miller also is accused of providing some of the false documentation to investigators from both Dillon's and Hevesi's offices in the ensuing months.
Prosecutors said they have not found any evidence that Miller received any type of payment for allegedly cooperating in a cover-up; their theory is he did it to help bolster his company's visibility by representing such a prominent school district as Roslyn.
Miller's attorney, William Petrillo, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that his client would be vindicated.
``We're very confident that the credible evidence will establish that many others had access to these records and motives to change them, something Mr. Miller did not have,'' he said.
© MMV Infinity Broadcasting Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report. In the interest of timeliness, this story is fed directly from the newswire and may contain occasional typographical errors.
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