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Former Altmar clerk-treasurer sentenced to prison time

Gino Geruntino
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli talks about Margaret Bailey's theft and sentencing during a visit to Oswego County.

The former clerk and treasurer of the dissolved village of Altmar was able to get away with theft for five years, mainly because there was no system of internal controls within the village board, according to New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

Margaret Bailey was sentenced Monday to serve two to six years in state prison for stealing $117,000 in public funds. She is also required to pay $1,000 in restitution each month once she gets out of prison until she has paid back what she stole. Oswego County District Attorney Gregory Oakes says if she fails to make payments, she could go back to prison.

DiNapoli says because there was no oversight for what Bailey was doing, she was able to get away with the thefts undetected.

"Relationships go back for a long time, and one individual, be it in a fire district, or a village or a town, is entrusted with making all the decisions, keeping the records, writing the checks, and no one is looking."

DiNapoli also says Bailey was writing checks to herself. She also failed to pay her property taxes for three years.

"Fleecing your community and your neighbors in this manner for five years is an appalling situation. As her community was exploring ways to save taxpayers money, this individual, this official spent a great deal of time opposing the dissolution of the village. Now we can see why."

In addition to writing the checks, Bailey also pocketed more than $9,000 in cash received from property tax payments, permit fees and the sale of a village vehicle.