Cash Fees Stolen By County Employee

A longtime Chautauqua County employee pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing county funds over a six-year span, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said.

Debra Kelley, the assistant treasurer for the Chautauqua County Water and Soil District, was charged with petit larceny after the state Comptroller’s Office discovered a gap between cash fees collected and the amount deposited in the bank.

The 48-year-old Portland resident resigned after 26 years of county employment and agreed to pay back the $4,100 in restitution, DiNapoli said in a press release. Kelley allegedly pocketed the money between 2012 and 2017.

“The trust put into Ms. Kelley by Chautauqua County residents was violated,” DiNapoli said. “Her actions and the consequences are a warning to others who violate their duty to the public.”

The Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation.

“It is through the continued efforts of our law enforcement partners in the State Comptroller’s Office coupled with grant funding through the Crimes Against Revenue grant that we are able to ensure that persons put in these positions of trust within our government are held accountable when they violate that trust,” Swanson said. “I want to thank the State Comptroller’s Office for their efforts in bringing this case to my office for prosecution. We value our relationship with all our law enforcement partners.”

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