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

DiNapoli: Former Hannibal Fire Chief and Father Arrested

Chief Had Fire Company Build a Go-Kart Track, Then Pocketed Profits

February 21, 2024

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Oswego County District Attorney Anthony J. DiMartino, Jr., and the New York State Police today announced the arrest of former Hannibal Fire Chief Chris Emmons for allegedly stealing $18,000, and Carl Emmons Sr., Chris Emmons’ father and a volunteer firefighter, for stealing over $2,500 from the fire company.

“The Emmonses allegedly diverted money meant to protect their community to fund their hobbies and pocket the proceeds,” DiNapoli said. “They will be held accountable for abusing their fire company and the community’s trust. My thanks to District Attorney DiMartino and the State Police for their assistance in ensuring justice is served.”

Oswego County District Attorney DiMartino said, “I believe these investigations are important because they ensure the public’s trust in our not-for-profit and volunteer agencies.”

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven G. James said, “This arrest should serve as a reminder that those who choose to abuse their public position will be brought to justice. Chris and Carl Emmons perpetuated a manipulative financial scheme and violated the public trust when they used their authority to steal funds that were meant to protect the community, all for personal gain. I applaud the diligent work of our members and our partners at the State Comptroller’s Office for holding these bad actors accountable and bringing a measure of justice for the victims.”

Chris Emmons had previously attempted to start a go-kart track business on his own property, but in February 2016 he convinced the Hannibal Fire Company to pay for construction of a track on its property. He said it would help raise money for the company and take the place of its bingo nights. The company spent $35,000, money that would otherwise have been used for fire protection, to create Hannibal Kartway.

The weekend go-kart track was in operation from 2017 to 2022 and run by Chris Emmons, his family members and others. Proceeds from the sale of race registrations and pit fees were supposed to go to the fire company. Other profits, from raffles, membership dues, concessions and rentals, were to go toward track operation and maintenance.

An audit by DiNapoli’s office determined that after 2020, Chris Emmons kept registration fees and stopped depositing any revenue into Kartway’s bank account. In all, it was determined that he failed to turn over $18,000 from the go-kart track to the fire company.

Chris Emmons’ father, Carl Emmons Sr., was also involved in running Hannibal Kartway and had access to the Kartway bank account. Within days of being contacted by DiNapoli’s auditors at the end of October 2022, Carl Emmons Sr. closed the Kartway bank account and transferred the remaining funds ($2,522.27) to his personal account. The next day, he informed auditors that go-kart track operations would be shut down permanently.

Chris Emmons was charged with grand larceny in the third degree, offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree and falsifying business records in the first degree before Judge Steven Kempisty in the Oswego Centralized Arraignment Part. He is scheduled to appear in court again on March 12.

Carl Emmons Sr. was charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree and given a desk appearance ticket. He is due back in court on March 5.

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