AG charges former judge with grand larceny, misconduct

ALBANY—Former Stockport Town Justice James Funk faces criminal charges brought by State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo for allegedly taking $27,000 in fees and bail money from a court bank account for personal use.
   Mr. Funk, 47, of Stockport was charged with one count of third degree grand larceny, a class D felony; one count of first degree falsifying business records, a class E felony; and one count of official misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, August 4.
   He was arraigned in Stuyvesant Town Court and was released on his own recognizance pending a future court date, according to a spokesman for the AG’s Office.
   If convicted, Mr. Funk faces up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
   The AG’s complaint alleges that Mr. Funk, while a Stockport Town Court justice, withdrew funds from the court’s bank account on four occasions in order to pay the taxes and utility bill on the Diamond Street Diner, his eatery on Warren Street in Hudson, and to stave off the foreclosure of his personal residence.
In one instance, the complaint alleges that Mr. Funk tried to cover his tracks by having an official bank check issued to one of his employees at the diner. He later allegedly crossed out the employee’s name and substituted it with “National Grid,” the name of a utility company.
   “As pillars of our legal system, judges are sworn to uphold the law and should be held to the highest professional standards. Allegations of criminal acts from the bench will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted by my office. Judges, like all government employees, are not above the law and must never use their official positions for personal gain,” Attorney General Cuomo said in a press release.
   An audit conducted by the Unified Court System’s Internal Audit Unit found that the money withdrawn by Mr. Funk was mostly bail money held by the court for pending cases.
   As justice, Mr. Funk was the sole authorized signatory for the court bank account, and was also responsible for collecting, recording, depositing and distributing fines and fees that are paid to the court.
   The matter was referred to the AG’s office by the chief administrative judge of the Unified Court System in May.
   According to a spokesman for the AG’s Office, Mr. Funk was a Stockport Town justice from 2007 to May of this year, when he resigned.
   He was also formerly a Stockport Town councilman, appointed in 2004 to fill the unexpired term of his late mother, Linda Funk. He was elected to that town board post in 2005. He was also a former sheriff’s deputy.
   The Office of Court Administration, Office of Internal Affairs and the Internal Audit Unit assisted with the investigation.
   The case is being handled by Assistant AG Nancy Snyder, with the assistance of Investigator Scott Petucci, under the supervision of Ellen Biben, special deputy attorney general for Public Integrity.
   To contact Diane Valden email
 

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