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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015

DiNapoli: Hamburg Employee Admits $150,000 Theft of Recreation Fees

October 24, 2018

A village recreation attendant admitted stealing more than $150,000 by skimming village fees and altering public records from 2011 to 2017, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced today.

Joanne Erickson, 54, stole cash payments that were meant to fund an afterschool program, a children's summer program and recreation hall rental fees. She altered cash reports and submitted them to the village and the Recreation Center supervisor. The Comptroller's office conducted an investigation and audit, discovered the theft and brought the matter to Flynn's office as part of their ongoing partnership. Erickson was terminated from her $35,000-a-year post by the village in April 2018.

"Little by little, Ms. Erickson systematically defrauded the Hamburg taxpayers of $150,000," DiNapoli said. "Thanks to the hard work of my office in partnership with District Attorney Flynn, Ms. Erickson has been held accountable."

"This defendant not only stole from taxpayers, but stole money intended to support programs for children in the Village of Hamburg. I want to thank our partners in the State Comptroller's Office for conducting this audit, which allowed us to prosecute this individual," Flynn said.

Erickson, a 14-year village employee, pleaded guilty to grand larceny, false filing and official misconduct. She is due back in court on Jan. 9 for sentencing.

Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption and fraud and encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at [email protected], or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.