ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO CHARGES FORMER STATE EMPLOYEE WITH USING TAXPAYER MONEY TO HELP FINANCE EBAY BUSINESS
Yesterday, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced the arrest of a former state worker for using the Department of Health's postage meter to send items he had auctioned on eBay, and other personal mail, costing taxpayers in excess of $16,000.
According to the complaint, from 1997 until January 2010, Robert Pagini, 57, of Delmar, worked for the Department of Health as a Senior Mail & Supply Clerk. For most of that time, he was the Supervisor-in-Charge of the Department of Health mailroom located in the Hedley Building in Troy. This mailroom receives, sorts, and distributes incoming Department of Health mail, and prepares outgoing mail for pick-up and delivery.
From March 2004 through January 2010, Pagini also auctioned items over eBay, predominantly coins and currency. He would allegedly use the Department of Health's postage machine to pay the postage for the items he was sending to his eBay customers. Furthermore, he would use the Department of Health's postage machine to pay the postage on personal mail. The charges allege that Pagini fraudulently charged $16,133 to the Department of Health. The investigation was conducted jointly by the Attorney General's Office and the Inspector General's Office.
"This former state employee was allegedly running a side business which was, in large part, financed by the people of New York," said Attorney General Cuomo. "Taxpayers expect and deserve government officials to work on their behalf and within the law. I thank the Inspector General and his team for their partnership in this investigation."
As part of the investigation, the Inspector General's Office purchased two coins; an 1882-O Morgan Silver Dollar, and a 1988 $1 Canada Silver Saint-Maurice Ironworks Proof from Pagini through eBay. When the coins arrived, the envelopes bore postage meter strips belonging to the Department of Health's account.
"Mr. Pagini exploited the Department of Health mailroom as his private shipping firm, mailing coins for Internet sales and squandering up to $25 on postage to pay his personal cable bill," said Inspector General Joseph Fisch. "I appreciate and commend the Attorney General for his diligent pursuit and prosecution of this case."
Pagini was arraigned today in Troy City Court before the Hon. Christopher T. Maier on a Felony Complaint charging one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a Class D Felony and Official Misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor. He is facing a maximum penalty of seven years in jail and was released on his own recognizance.
The case is being prosecuted by Criminal Prosecutions Bureau Deputy Bureau Chief Richard S. Ernst under the supervision of Public Integrity Bureau Deputy Bureau Chief Monica Stamm and Special Deputy Attorney General for Public Integrity Ellen Biben in conjunction with Office of the Inspector General Investigative Counsel Jonathan Masters and Deputy Chief Investigator Sherry Amarel.
The charges against Pagini are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.