Helen McCann, a former longtime employee of the Town of North Hempstead, was sentenced for embezzling more than $98,000 from the Solid Waste Management Authority, prosecutors announced on Wednesday morning.
McCann, a 53-year-old resident of Roslyn Heights, was sentenced to a conditional discharge and ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution to the Town of North Hempstead and $48,330 to an insurance company for a claim made by the town.
McCann pleaded guilty on Jan. 17 to one count of corrupting the government in the second degree, a felony.
Prosecutors had argued that McCann, who worked as an administrative assistant at the agency, took $98,862.91 from money charged to people for dropping off waste between May 2014 and January 2016.
“This defendant betrayed the trust placed in her to safeguard public funds at the North Hempstead Solid Waste Management Authority,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “With this sentence, we have made the taxpayers whole.”
Singas said that the Solid Waste Management Authority ran a drop-off program on Sundays, where the agency accepted yard waste, municipal solid waste, and debris from construction and demolition for a fee of $5 for the first 100 pounds and $1 for each additional 20.
Employees working at the facility would receive the cash payments, generating receipts and enter information on how much garbage was taken and how much cash was involved, Singas said. An employee then “reconciled the amount of cash in hand with the cash taken in, per the scale reports.”
Prosecutors said that starting on May 11, 2014, McCann’s weekly deposits in the agency’s bank account were often less than the cash amount reported – and sometimes no deposits were made at all.
This was correlated with a decrease in yearly deposits, prosecutors said, with $76,352 being collected in 2013, $62,649 in 2014, and $17,467 in 2015.
The Town of North Hempstead’s comptroller’s office notified the authority about the revenue issues in mid-January 2016 before referring the matter to the district attorney about a week later.
McCann, who was employed by North Hempstead starting in 1998 and transferred to the waste management agency in 2014, was then terminated. She surrendered to district attorney’s investigators on Feb. 29, 2016.
“We brought this matter to the District Attorney as soon as we became aware of the discrepancies at the Solid Waste Management Authority,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said at the time. “We are cooperating fully and are confident that the DA will conduct a thorough investigation to see that justice is done. Any breach of public trust on the part of any town employee will not be tolerated.”