Addison Village Clerk Accused of Stealing $1 Million Over 19 Years
BATH, NY (WENY) -- State and local authorities on Thursday announced a major indictment and arrest of a former Steuben County village clerk, accused of using her position to steal more than $1 million from the village of Addison over a period of 19 years.
The Steuben County District Attorney, New York State Comptroller's Office, and New York State Police announced the charges against 55-year-old Ursula Stone, who previously served as the village of Addison clerk/treasurer.
Stone was indicted by a Steuben County grand jury, on 192 felony counts, including 1st degree Grand Larceny, 2nd degree Money Laundering, Public Corruption, 3rd degree Attempted Grand Larceny, and 185 counts of 1st degree Falsifying Business Records.
According to authorities, Stone filed false documents to cover up the theft of village funds, and allegedly stole more than $1.17 million from the village between January of 2004, and April of 2023.
"Ms. Stone brazenly and systematically siphoned off a million dollars in public funds over the course of almost two decades. Meanwhile, while she allegedly lined her pockets over the years, my office and the financial fiscal evaluations found Addison to be in fiscal stress, operating on a shoestring budget, and taxes rose for the taxpayer every single year during that period that she was allegedly stealing," said Nelson Sheingold, Chief Counsel to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
"The process here was amazing," said District Attorney Brooks Baker, "She managed to find ways to steal, it was very a complicated and involved scheme, and then covered that for a very long time until it was discovered by some real heads-up work by the New York State Comptroller's office."
According to Baker, Stone was hired by the village in 1999, and became the clerk/treasurer in 2001. Her position with the village was an appointed one; she was not an elected official.
Sheingold went on to say the amount of money Stone allegedly stole would have funded the Addison Police Department for almost four years.
"When a public official abuses their position, they don't just steal money. What they're really doing is they're betraying the faith of their communities and their neighbors. What they're doing is robbing of the confidence that the community can have in their own government," Sheingold said.
Baker said the Comptroller's office put in hundreds of man hours investigating the case, along with the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit.
Stone was arrested and arraigned in Steuben County court Thursday afternoon, and was sent to the Steuben Count jail on $20,000 cash bail or property bond. She pleaded not guilty, and is due back in court in January.
When WENY News stopped by the Village of Addison offices, we were handed the following statement:
"We have no comment on the Audit or the press conference at this time as it is still an on going investigation. However, we have put policies and procedures into place that will hopefully prevent this from ever happening again."
Around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, November 2nd, Stone posted bail.