A Westchester County employee who lives in Dutchess County was arrested Tuesday on a grand larceny charge following an investigation by the Westchester County Police, Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and the Department of Finance into some missing county funds.
The probe began after an internal Finance Department audit revealed discrepancies connected with the employee’s work, Public Safety Commissioner George Longworth said.
“The internal audit controls utilized by the Finance Department raised some red flags regarding transactions handled by this employee,” Longworth said. “When the Finance Department alerted us, we assigned detectives to investigate further and also sought the assistance of the Westchester District Attorney’s Office.”
Detectives from the General Investigations Unit formally charged 44-year-old Michael Taylor of Beekman with grand larceny in the third degree. The charge is a felony that accuses the employee of the theft of more than $3,000.
The investigation is continuing and additional charges are possible, said Kieran O'Leary, public information officer for Westchester County Police.
Taylor was booked at county police headquarters in Hawthorne and was arraigned in White Plains City Court Tuesday afternoon. Bail was set at $50,000 bond or $10,000 cash.
Taylor is suspended without pay. A 22-year county employee, he has worked for the past nine years as a staff assistant in the benefits section of the county's finance department.
The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office said additionally that the alleged actions of Taylor took place on or about Jan. 1, 2014, through Feb. 28, 2017.
Taylor stole in excess of $3,000 by stealing United States Postal Money Orders, checks, or cash which came into his possession at his office, O'Leary said. This scam was systematic and ongoing during this time period, according to O'Leary.
Taylor would remove the payee, the County of Westchester, on these instruments, enter his own name as payee, and negotiate them through his own personal bank accounts, according to O'Leary.
Taylor also allegedly stole at least five Medicare Premium Reimbursement checks, each payable for $314.70 to county retirees during this time period and deposited these checks which contained forged endorsements into his personal account, O'Leary said, adding Taylor did not have anyone’s consent or authorization to commit these acts.
“This defendant violated the trust placed in him to be a careful steward of money earned by the hard-working employees of Westchester County. It is through the efforts of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety, the Westchester County Finance Department and this office that this theft will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino.
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