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DiNapoli: Pleasant Valley Town Clerk Charged in Theft of Fees

Pleasant Valley Town Clerk Margaret Hart was recently charged for the theft of more than $27,000 which she allegedly stole by pocketing cash deposits instead of depositing them in the clerk’s bank account, according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

Hart, 57, of Hyde Park, was charged with grand larceny in the third degree and official misconduct. The thefts, which took place over three and half years, were uncovered by the State Comptroller’s office after a referral from town officials. As clerk, Hart also functions as the town tax collector. She allegedly used her position to steal cash payments made to the town and manipulated town accounts to disguise her theft.

"Ms. Hart violated the public trust by stealing town fees and will be held accountable for her actions," DiNapoli said. "My staff, working with law enforcement, exposed the money transfers that Ms. Hart allegedly used to mask her thefts. I thank the State Police and Dutchess County District Attorney William Grady for their continuing partnership to combat public corruption."

Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption and encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at investigations@osc.state.ny.us, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236. Review prior cases at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/investigations/index.htm.