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

DiNapoli: Former Town Supervisor Sentenced to Prison for Embezzlement

Long-Serving Pharsalia Town Official Will Serve One to Three Year Term for Stealing $240,000 to Pay for Personal Expenses

September 24, 2021

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Cortland County District Attorney Patrick Perfetti and the New York State Police today announced that former Pharsalia Town Supervisor Dennis Brown was sentenced to serve one to three years in a state prison. In June, Brown pleaded guilty to stealing $240,000 in public funds after his thefts were revealed through a joint investigation.

“It is dismaying that any public official would choose to betray their promise to safeguard taxpayers’ money, but today Dennis Brown learned the consequences of his crimes,” DiNapoli said. “It should be a warning for anyone in a position of public trust that any theft, misuse or abuse of public resources is intolerable. My thanks to DA Perfetti and the New York State Police for their continued partnership in rooting out corruption.”

“We are certainly disappointed that the judge did not follow our sentencing recommendation. Not only was there theft of a considerable amount of money from the Town of Pharsalia, but there was also a significant violation of the public trust, as Mr. Brown had been a long-serving government official for Pharsalia in the role of Town Supervisor, when he committed his crimes,” said DA Perfetti.

Brown was sentenced after pleading guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, as a crime of Public Corruption. As a result of his conviction, he has been ordered to pay $240,000 in restitution, of which he has already paid $125,000.

Brown’s crimes were uncovered in 2018 by DiNapoli’s office, who then partnered with the State Police and District Attorney Perfetti and determined that Brown had inflated his salary for at least a decade, illegally padding his income by at least $175,000. In addition, he had racked up charges on the town’s credit card to pay for groceries, vacations, clothes, jewelry, home utilities, and work on his property. Brown, 72, was arrested on April 10, 2019.

Brown was the longest-serving town supervisor in Chenango County, having served in office for 35 years, until he lost an election in 2019. At the time of his arrest he was also a paid member of the county’s Board of Supervisors and served on its finance and public works committees.

Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption 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, 8th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.