Former Clerk Gets Probation
To The Reader’s Forum:
As a taxpayer in the Town of Ellery I was outraged to learn that Sharon L. Thompson, Ellery Justice Court clerk, stole $63,636 from court fees! Why didn’t her supervisor(s) notice this substantial sum of money was missing? Why did it take an audit by the NY State Comptroller’s Office to determine this money had disappeared from Ellery’s Court funds? Further investigation seems warranted here.
More outrageous is the penalty judge Mohun gave Thompson. While other thieves would have been jailed for this crime, Thompson was sentenced to probation, a $3,181.80 surcharge, and replacement of the $63,636 she stole. How many thieves are allowed to pay restitution through monthly installments from their taxpayer supported pensions as in this case? Thompson was also lectured by the judge about giving other court clerks a bad reputation. This person, like other thieves, should have had her property confiscated and sold to pay back the stolen money. She also should have lost all taxpayer contributions to her pension and she should have been given a jail sentence.
Justice was not served in this case. Thompson’s only real penalty for stealing $63,636 and violating the public trust was a $3,181.80 surcharge, probably for court costs. The public should be outraged!
Charles E. Hill
Former Clerk Gets Probation
MAYVILLE – The former Ellery Justice Court clerk who admitted to stealing more than $60,000 in court funds was sentenced to five years of probation Friday in Chautauqua County Court.
Sharon L. Thompson, in addition to probation, was ordered to pay restitution of $63,636, along with a 5 percent surcharge of $3,181.80.
The Hon. Michael M. Mohun, who presided over the court, said a failure to pay restitution in full could lead to a 2to 7-year state prison term.
John Schober, Thompson’s attorney, said his client should have enough money to pay restitution after she auctions off some lakefront real estate in May. The appraised value of the property is reportedly $444,000 – of which, Thompson will acquire a certain percentage.
Mohun said Thompson should pay restitution at a minimum rate of $700 a month, which includes “every nickel” of her pension checks that start arriving in April.
The judge ordered Thompson to reappear in court on Sept. 30 for an update on her progress.
Thompson pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny in June 2015. The charge stems from an audit report by the New York State Comptroller’s Office that claimed Thompson tampered with the town court’s cash collection process during the audit period of January 2009 to August 2014.
Specifically, the report alleges that Thompson stole $63,636.
She was terminated from her position on Feb. 14, 2014.
Mohun chastised Thompson’s judgement during Friday’s sentencing.
“You used your position as a court clerk to put money in your pocket and now you are before the court with no money to pay back … you stole it and spent it all,” Mohun said. “Now everybody has to clean up the mess here … all because of your greed and self-interest.”
Mohun also described how court clerks statewide have had their reputations “smirched” as a result of Thompson’s actions.