Modified: April 18, 2021 12:26pm
Created: April 18, 2021 12:24pm
Office of Erie County Comptroller Works Collaboratively with Law Enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office on Suspected Theft from Lancaster Non-Profit
(ERIE COUNTY, NY) – A fraud investigation started by the Office of Erie County Comptroller has led to criminal charges stemming from a suspected theft by the employee of a non-profit organization based in Lancaster, N.Y.
Following a criminal referral from Comptroller Mychajliw’s office to the Lancaster Police Department, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office stated an employee of a Lancaster based non-profit, pled guilty to two counts of Grand Larceny on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021.
The fraud investigation began in September of 2020 when accountants with the Office of Erie County Comptroller flagged an Erie County government check that was cashed for the non-profit agency but was deposited in what appeared to be a personal bank account. The Erie County Legislature approved funding for the agency in question and an official government check was issued, as is the standard practice for funding non-profit agencies.
Erie County Comptroller’s Office accountants contacted our banking partner, M&T Bank, who then confirmed the government check to the agency totaling almost $13,676.75 was not in fact deposited in the non-profit’s account, but by one of its employees into their personal bank account.
The Lancaster Police Department was notified of the alleged theft, the Office of Erie County District Attorney John Flynn was contacted, a criminal investigation began, which led to a plea of guilty last week by Bridget Mitchell of Buffalo, NY.
“My office fulfilled our mission of being the ‘Taxpayer’s Watchdog.’ Our team worked with Lancaster Police once we suspected a crime took place. Let this be a lesson for anyone else thinking of stealing taxpayer dollars. We will catch you. You will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Many thanks to the Fraud Division of our banking partner, M&T Bank, and to the Lancaster Police Department. I also greatly appreciate our Accounting Team that worked hard uncovering this brazen theft,” said Erie County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr.
The initial criminal referral by the Office of Erie County Comptroller led to an additional criminal charge of Grand Larceny by Mitchell, who was accused of stealing a federal stimulus check intended for a client of the non-profit agency.
For a pdf of release, click HERE