(WNY News Now) – The former clerk-treasurer of the Village of Addison in Steuben County, New York, for more than 25 years, has been arrested for allegedly embezzling over $1.1 million in village funds over nearly two decades, following an audit by the New York State Comptroller’s Office.
Addison, NY – New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker, and the New York State Police revealed the arrest of Ursula Stone, the former clerk-treasurer of the Village of Addison. Stone is facing multiple felony charges in connection with an alleged theft of more than $1.1 million in public funds over a period of at least 19 years.
DiNapoli commended the work of his office, District Attorney Baker, and the State Police in uncovering what he described as a “shocking” breach of public trust. He emphasized the importance of vigilant oversight in preventing such incidents of financial misconduct and corruption within local government.
Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker echoed DiNapoli’s sentiments, praising the efforts of DiNapoli’s auditors and the State Police for their critical investigative assistance. Baker referred to the case as a significant breach of public trust and emphasized the importance of accountability.
Acting Superintendent Dominick L. Chiumento of the New York State Police expressed his agency’s commitment to combating public corruption and ensuring accountability for those involved in such activities.
The investigation began in 2022 when the New York State Comptroller’s Office initiated an audit of the Village of Addison. The audit revealed that Ursula Stone, who served as the clerk-treasurer for over two decades, had been managing the village’s financial operations without any oversight or accountability. Stone had been responsible for tasks such as preparing payroll, maintaining leave records, and processing health insurance buyouts and unused leave payments without proper review or approval from village officials.
Furthermore, the audit uncovered that checks issued by the Addison Central School District, payable to the village, had not been deposited into the village’s accounts. A comprehensive investigation, involving the New York State Police and the Steuben County District Attorney’s Office, revealed that Stone allegedly misappropriated these school district checks, as well as numerous other checks payable to the village. She purportedly converted them into certified bank checks and cashed them for personal gain.
In addition to these financial irregularities, investigators discovered that Stone had awarded herself unauthorized pay raises, taken time off without deducting it from her leave credits, and issued herself checks for unauthorized health insurance buyouts using village funds. Stone had also been cashing out unused vacation time since 2004, despite this option being reserved for employees who had resigned or retired.
The investigation further revealed that Stone provided insurance buyouts to one employee and granted a substantial separation payment to another, totaling $73,666 in payments that lacked authorization.
Amidst the ongoing investigation, Stone submitted her resignation in March 2023. However, before doing so, she wrote herself a final check for $26,613 without the board’s authorization. Fortunately, the board acted swiftly to stop payment on the check before she could cash it.
In total, investigators estimate that Stone embezzled $1,171,362 during her tenure as clerk-treasurer. She had been employed by the Village of Addison since 1997.
Ursula Stone is now facing a range of serious felony charges, including Grand Larceny in the 1st degree, Money Laundering in the 2nd degree, Corrupting the Government in the 1st degree, Public Corruption, Attempted Grand Larceny in the 3rd degree, Attempted Public Corruption, and 185 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the 1st degree. She was arraigned before Judge Chauncey Watches of Steuben County Court, with bail set at $20,000. Stone is scheduled to appear in court again on January 24, 2024.