Ex-Schenectady County official admits stealing more than $50K
SCHENECTADY The former director of Schenectady County's Department of Weights and Measures admitted this morning to taking more than $50,000 from the county.
Christopher Godlewski, 41, pleaded guilty in Schenectady County Court to one count of third-degree grand larceny, a felony.
In return for his plea, Godlewski is to be sentenced in December to six months in jail. He also agreed to resign from his position retroactive to the date of his arrest, March 25, and repay all the money he took, totaling $50,800.
In court this morning, Godlewski turned over a check for the full restitution amount. The check is to go to the county's insurer.
Godlewski also turned over the letter of resignation.
Godlewski admitted to taking the money from December 2009 to the time of his arrest.
No reason was given in court for the thefts.
Prior to taking the plea, during standard questioning from Schenectady County Court Judge Karen Drago, Godlewski told the judge he suffers from anxiety and depression. No link, though, was made between that and the thefts.
His attorney, James Knox, declined to comment afterward. Also attending the proceedings were Godlewski's parents.
Godlewski is to surrender himself to begin serving his sentence next month. He is scheduled to be formally sentenced Dec. 5.
Godlewski was arrested in March after a joint investigation by the state police and Schenectady County District Attorney's office.
Godlewski's work with the county was to oversee the accuracy of services such as scales or gasoline pumps and impose fines on retailers and manufacturers when they violate regulations or defraud the public.
Godlewski was accused of soliciting funds, which were then sent to his personal box at the Schenectady County Post Office and deposited into his Bank of America account, officials have said.
Godlewski acted alone, officials said. He was able to divert fees by stealing amounts that would only be considered as minor fluctuations in fine collection totals.
Officials have said the investigation had started after irregularities were detected in March by county Finance Commissioner Deborah Mancini. Mancini became aware of improper paperwork and accounts in addition to a notice about a fee that required payment to an unauthorized post office box and bank account. She then notified Schenectady County Attorney Christopher Gardner and County Manager Kathleen Rooney, and they then presented their suspicions to Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney.
The investigation then led to search warrants on Godlewski 's house, office and bank.