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Former Pitcairn supervisor sentenced to jail for theft of funds

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CANTON — A former Pitcairn town supervisor was sentenced Thursday to 90 days in jail for embezzling more than $35,000 in municipal funds in 2008 and 2009.

Susan M. Smith, 40, Harrisville, collapsed in tears in St. Lawrence County Court on Thursday morning when County Judge Jerome J. Richards asked her if she had anything to say. She then was escorted of the courtroom by police, crying, “No, no, no.”

Ms. Smith pleaded guilty May 29 to one count of third-degree grand larceny, a class D felony. Investigators said she issued $36,622 in unauthorized payments to herself and others from Jan. 1, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2009, while she was Pitcairn town supervisor.

The checks came from town accounts at Community Bank N.A., where she worked as a branch manager.

She has since been fired from that position.

In court on Thursday, Ms. Smith turned over two checks for a total of $35,622 for restitution, one check for $4,622 to Utica Mutual Insurance Co., which covered the embezzled funds, and $1,000 to the town of Pitcairn as a deductible since the money was bonded.

When the state comptroller’s office questioned some of the payments during a risk assessment, Ms. Smith prepared and submitted false documentation, according to the indictment, including a forged bank memo falsely indicating that she had credited funds back to the town.

“Whether serving as town supervisor or in the state legislature, no public official is above the law, least of all one who treated a town’s bank accounts like her own personal ATM,” said state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman at the time of Ms. Smith’s guilty plea in May.

In addition to her 90-day jail sentence, Ms. Smith will be placed under probation supervision for five years once she is released.

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