Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a former North Hempstead employee was sentenced today for embezzling more than $98,000 from the Solid Waste Management Authority between May 2014 and January 2016.
Helen McCann, 53, of Roslyn Heights, pleaded guilty on Jan. 17 to one count of corrupting the government in the second degree (a C felony). The defendant was sentenced to a conditional discharge, restitution of $50,000 to the Town of North Hempstead and a civil judgment of $48,330.00 to an insurance company for an insurance claim made by North Hempstead.
“This defendant betrayed the trust placed in her to safeguard public funds at the North Hempstead Solid Waste Management Authority,” DA Singas said. “With this sentence, we have made the taxpayers whole. I commend the North Hempstead Comptroller for identifying this crime and the SWMA for referring this matter for prosecution.”
DA Singas said that the Solid Waste Management Authority (SWMA) ran a “Resident Drop-Off” program on Sundays and the authority accepted yard waste, residential municipal solid waste and residential-generated construction and demolition debris for a fee. The authority charged $5 for the first 100 pounds brought in per vehicle and $1 for each additional 20 pounds.
The employees who worked at the facility (the “Scale House”) received the cash payments, generated receipts and entered the information in a computer program, which records the garbage taken and the amount of cash. An employee then reconciled the amount of cash in hand with the cash taken in, per the scale reports.
An attendant, on the next business day, typically brought the scale reports and the cash to the authority’s administrative office and an employee at the office again reconciled the cash with the reports, deposited the cash into SWMA’s Chase Bank account and sent a memo to the Town of North Hempstead’s Comptroller’s Office detailing the amount received at the Scale House and attached the bank deposit slip and the deposit ticket/receipt.
Helen McCann was employed by the Town of North Hempstead starting in 1998 and was transferred in January 2014 to SWMA as an administrative assistant. Beginning on January 26, 2014, the defendant was responsible for receiving the cash and scale reports on Mondays and for depositing the cash at a bank.
Starting on approximately May 11, 2014, McCann’s weekly deposits into the bank account were often less than the amount of the cash reported on the scale reports. On many occasions, the defendant made no bank deposits at all. Yearly deposits in the account decreased during this period, with approximately $76,352 collected in 2013, $62,649 in 2014 and $17,467 in 2015.
During the period of May 11, 2014 to January 11, 2016, McCann embezzled approximately $98,862.91 from her workplace.
The Town of North Hempstead Comptroller’s Office notified the Solid Waste Management Authority about the significant decrease in revenue in mid-January 2016. Approximately a week later, the town referred the matter to the NCDA and an investigation was opened on Jan. 21, 2016.
McCann was subsequently terminated as a town employee and surrendered to NCDA investigators on Feb. 29, 2016.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Jesse Aviram of DA Singas’ Public Corruption Bureau is prosecuting the case. McCann is represented by Rick Librett, Esq.