Modified: January 26, 2018 4:56pm
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 62-year-old Dennis R. Black of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina and previously a resident of Buffalo has been sentenced by State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski to five years probation. In addition, Black was issued a $5,000 fine and 2,500 hours of community service.
In September 2017, Black pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, both felonies.
An investigation by New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott found that Black used his position as Vice President of University Life Services at the State University of New York at Buffalo (“SUNY Buffalo”) to steal state money, which was spent on personal travel, a social club membership, sports and entertainment tickets and to donate to charity in his own name. In addition, Black took improper personal tax deductions against the stolen funds that were donated to charities. The funds were stolen from an account administered and funded by the Faculty Student Association (“FSA”), a not-for-profit corporation that operates food services and book stores at SUNY Buffalo. These funds were payments by FSA to SUNY Buffalo that Black improperly steered into this account rather than an official University controlled account, avoiding State financial controls.
Black resigned from his role at SUNY Buffalo in Summer 2016.
As a condition of the plea, Black agreed to pay $320,000 to New York State in restitution as well as $22,000 in back taxes. Black has made full restitution to both SUNY Buffalo and New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.
DA Fynn says, “This should not be a situation where an individual steals public funds, pays it back and all is forgiven. Mr. Black abused his position of power to steal public dollars. This was not an isolated incident, it went on year after year, charge after charge, trip after trip. He used his well-paid public position to take funds intended for the university and its students, for his own benefit. On top of that he had the nerve to write off on his taxes the donations he made to charity using the money he stole. As District Attorney it is my position that the sentence should include incarceration.”
DA Flynn commends Inspector General Leahy Scott, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and SUNY Buffalo for their investigative work in this case.
This case was prosecuted by Chief Candace K. Vogel and Assistant District Attorney Gary M. Ertel of the DA’s Special Investigations and Prosecutions Bureau.