Ex-Pharsalia supervisor sentenced to prison in theft from town

·2 min read

Sep. 24—A former Chenango County town supervisor was sentenced Friday, Sept. 24, to state prison after admitting stealing nearly a quarter million dollars in town funds.

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Cortland County District Attorney Patrick Perfetti and the New York State Police on Friday, Sept. 24, announced former Pharsalia Town Supervisor Dennis Brown was sentenced to serve one to three years in a state prison.

In June, Brown pleaded guilty to stealing $240,000 in public funds after his thefts were revealed through a joint investigation.

"It is dismaying that any public official would choose to betray their promise to safeguard taxpayers' money, but today Dennis Brown learned the consequences of his crimes," DiNapoli said in a media release. "It should be a warning for anyone in a position of public trust that any theft, misuse or abuse of public resources is intolerable. My thanks to DA Perfetti and the New York State Police for their continued partnership in rooting out corruption."

The case was prosecuted by Perfetti's office as special prosecutor upon the application of the Chenango County District Attorney Office.

"We are certainly disappointed that the judge did not follow our sentencing recommendation," Perfetti said in the release. "Not only was there theft of a considerable amount of money from the Town of Pharsalia, but there was also a significant violation of the public trust, as Mr. Brown had been a long-serving government official for Pharsalia in the role of Town Supervisor, when he committed his crimes."

Perfetti told The Daily Star he recommended a sentence of two to six years in prison.

Brown was sentenced after pleading guilty to grand larceny in the second degree, as a crime of public corruption. As a result of his conviction, he has been ordered to pay $240,000 in restitution, of which he has already paid $125,000.

Brown's crimes were uncovered in 2018 by DiNapoli's office, who then partnered with the State Police and Perfetti and determined that Brown had inflated his salary for at least a decade, illegally padding his income by at least $175,000, according to the release. In addition, he had racked up charges on the town's credit card to pay for groceries, vacations, clothes, jewelry, home utilities, and work on his property. Brown, 72, was arrested on April 10, 2019.

Brown was the longest-serving town supervisor in Chenango County, having served in office for 35 years, until he lost an election in 2019. At the time of his arrest he was also a paid member of the county's Board of Supervisors and served on its finance and public works committees.

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