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Former Gouverneur mayor faces prison for bilking couple out of more than $20K in real estate scheme

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CANTON — Former Gouverneur Mayor Christopher A. Miller is facing up to four years in prison after admitting to swindling two Gouverneur residents out of more than $20,000 in a real estate scheme.

Mr. Miller, 32, of 171 Rowley St., pleaded guilty Thursday in St. Lawrence County Court to fourth-degree grand larceny in a plea deal with District Attorney Mary E. Rain.

In April 2012, Mr. Miller sold a 31 Edith St. home to Ronald and Heather Sliter for $50,000. The land contract was fraudulent because he failed to mention he co-owned the property with Dylan T. Liebenow, who did not approve the transaction.

According to court documents, Mr. Miller accepted $10,840 from Mr. and Mrs. Sliter. Ms. Rain said the couple also invested approximately $11,000 in the home and upon their discovering he was not the sole owner of the property, they vacated the premises and demanded their money back.

Ms. Rain said the plea deal, which reduced Mr. Miller’s original charge of third-degree grand larceny, also satisfied two uncharged crimes that included a real estate transaction he brokered without a real estate license for property he did not technically own. He sold properties at 18 and 24 South St. to Kyle J. Travis for $85,000. He had purchased the South Street apartment houses from Mark E. Hendrick, who held a $110,000 mortgage on them and had started foreclosure proceedings on them before Mr. Miller sold them to Mr. Travis.

Mr. Miller collected $14,000 from the deal, according to a cash deposit listed in his 2012 bankruptcy filing.

Mr. Miller would have faced a maximum of seven years in prison had he been sentenced on the previous charge.

Mr. Miller was elected village mayor in fall 2011 and served in the position for less than a year before resigning in August 2012, six days before he was arrested.

His sentencing is scheduled for April 1. It is anticipated that he will have to pay upwards of $35,000 in restitution and court fines, fees and surcharges, Ms. Rain said.

County Judge Jerome J. Richards released Mr. Miller on his own recognizance, warning him that if he has any brush with the law he could face additional time in prison.

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