Bookkeeper gets 3 to 9 for ripping off towns

HUDSON–Former bookkeeper Pegeen Mulligan-Moore, who stole more than half a million dollars from the towns of Kinderhook and Greenport, will serve three to nine years in state prison for her crimes.

Ms. Mulligan-Moore, 42, of Valatie was sentenced in Columbia County Court Tuesday morning, June 21 by Judge Jonathan Nichols.

Charged with 20 counts: 18 felonies and 2 misdemeanors, September 8, 2010, the indictment stated that between December 7, 2006 and January 15, 2010, Ms. Mulligan-Moore stole over $400,000 of the town’s money “through a series of electronic fund transfers directly from the Town of Kinderhook’s bank accounts into her personal American Express credit card account,” according to a press release issued by Columbia County District Attorney Beth Cozzolino at the time of the indictment.

Appointed by former Supervisor Doug McGivney, Ms. Mulligan-Moore was Kinderhook’s bookkeeper for five years from 2005 to 2010. She was also Mr. McGivney’s assistant.

Even after Mr. McGivney was defeated in the November 2009 election and Ms. Mulligan-Moore’s appointment ended December 31, 2009, she allegedly stole an additional $14,000 from Kinderhook during the first two weeks of January 2010.

Ms. Mulligan-Moore started working for the Town of Greenport as a bookkeeper in January 2010 under Supervisor Edward Nabozny and continued to work there until July. During that time, she allegedly stole more than $50,000 from that town’s accounts by depositing town checks into her personal checking account, the earlier release said.

She was charged with: two counts of second degree grand larceny, a class C felony; two counts of third degree grand larceny, a class D felony; two counts of computer trespass, a class E felony; one count of fourth degree grand larceny, a class E felony; one count of first degree falsifying business records, a class E felony; two counts of first degree tampering with public records, a class D felony; one count of second degree attempted forgery, a class E felony; seven counts of first degree falsifying business records, a class D felony; one count of obstruction of governmental administration, a misdemeanor; and one count of fifth degree criminal possession of stolen property, a misdemeanor.

She pleaded guilty to the entire indictment the morning of February 28, just as jury selection was just about to start her trial.

In addition to the three to nine years behind bars, Ms. Mulligan-Moore has to make restitution in the amount of $556,470.86.

Of that total, $450,935.62 represents the amount she swiped from Kinderhook, plus expenses the town incurred as a result of the larceny, such as accountant and attorney fees; $22,546.78 is the 5% administrative surcharge associated with the Kinderhook case for a total $473,392.40.

With regard to Greenport, she must pay a total $83,078.46, which includes $79,122.34 for what she took and the town’s related expenses, along with a 5% surcharge of $3,956.12, according to Chief Assistant District Attorney Mike Cozzolino, who said this week there is a provision of law under which Ms. Mulligan-Moore’s sentence may be increased by a year if she fails to pay restitution.

Attorney Andrew Safranko of the O’Connell and Aronowitz law firm in Albany, who represented Ms. Mulligan Moore, told The Columbia Paper Wednesday, “This type of case is difficult especially in Columbia County, which takes the position that once someone is indicted they will not entertain plea negotiations, leaving defendants at the mercy of the court.

“We’re happy the court did not go strictly with the DA’s recommendation for the maximum sentence on the two top counts, which would have resulted in two 5 to 15 year terms consecutively or 10 to 30 years total. We were hoping for the sentence recommended by the Probation Department, which was strictly probation,” said the attorney adding that, “We’re evaluating our appellate options.”

Ms. Mulligan-Moore is currently being held in the Columbia County Jail before being transferred to state prison, where she will be eligible for parole after three-years, Mr. Safranko said.

“The defendant abused her position of trust and power. I recommended this sentence because she was convicted of stealing money right from the taxpayers who were paying her to oversee their money,” said DA Cozzolino.

To contact Diane Valden email .   

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