Another Chatham official convicted of financial crime



CHATHAM – A second Chatham official was found guilty on Wednesday of “swindling” the village after an investigation by the State Comptroller’s Office and the Columbia County District Attorney.

Barbara Henry, 60, of Chatham, was convicted in village court of attempted official misconduct, a misdemeanor, for using her position as the village accountant to have the village pay $ 1,000 of its insurance premiums sickness.

Henry is also accused of stealing more than $ 8,420 in funds between October 2014 and December 2020 from a nonprofit developmental center where she worked in Massachusetts, according to the Columbia County prosecutor, Paul Czajka.

Henry paid $ 3,586 in restitution to the village and the nonprofit, according to the state comptroller’s office.

The restitution paid to the nonprofit related to thefts in Columbia County, according to DA Czajka, who referred the prosecution of the case to authorities in Massachusetts.

“Ms. Henry has taken advantage of her public position to have taxpayers fully fund her insurance costs,” State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement. “This kind of corruption drives up costs and erodes public trust. Those who abuse the system will. Be arrested and brought to justice.”

The conviction is the second in a two-year investigation into Chatham’s finances.

Village Police Chief Peter Volkmann, who ran Chatham Cares 4 U, a program where anyone with drug problems could be transported and admitted to recovery centers with the help of Chatham Police without facing of the charges, pleaded guilty in February to fourth degree robbery, a felony, and official misconduct, a misdemeanor.

Volkmann admitted to scamming the state pension system to the tune of $ 74,222 and filing bogus mileage claims with the village for $ 18,607.

Volkmann illegally circumvented the state’s $ 30,000 cap on public retiree salaries by asking 19 municipalities and school districts to pay his private company, PF Volkmann & Associates, for the services.

Volkmann’s crimes came to light when a search warrant was executed on village offices in January 2019. After his conviction, Volkmann was ordered to pay nearly $ 93,000 in restitution. Neither Volkmann nor Henry will serve jail time for their crimes in Columbia County.

Henry’s guilty plea ends Chatham’s financial investigation, according to Czajka. Neither Henry nor Volkmann will ever be able to hold public office again.

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