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Halfmoon Supervisor Faces Felony Charges In Alleged Theft Of Campaign Dollars

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Halfmoon town supervisor “Mindy” Warmouth faces up to seven years in prison after hearing charges Thursday in connection with allegedly stealing thousands from her campaign committee.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced Wormuth’s arrest Thursday afternoon, after the embattled supervisor appeared in Waterford Town Court. She was charged with multiple felonies including grand larceny in the third degree, grand larceny in the fourth degree, and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. She also faces a charge of  petit larceny, a misdemeanor. Wormuth pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The case follows an investigation between the Attorney General and Comptroller’s offices, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York.

The charges stem from Wormuth’s alleged theft of $6,250 in contributions from her campaign fund, Friends of Mindy Warmouth. An investigation found that between 2009 and 2013, Warmouth pocketed seven checks without reporting the contributions to the committee’s treasurer or to the State Board of Elections.

In a statement, Attorney General Schniderman said, “New Yorkers rightly expect that their campaign contributions will go to fund a candidate’s run for elected office, not a candidate’s lifestyle.”

Schneiderman also said the arrest of the Saratoga County politician “demonstrates that federal and state authorities will work together to stamp out corruption at every level and bring those who would abuse the public trust to justice.”  

After initial reports of an FBI investigation in September, Halfmoon town council members Craig Hayner, Paul Hotaling, Walter Polak, Jr., and John Wasielewski signed a letter asking Wormuth to step down as supervisor, saying she had become “ineffective” in her position. Wormuth dismissed the accusations.

Following her arraignments in state and federal court, Wormuth’s attorney E. Stuart Jones maintained her client’s innocence.

"The charges are a one-sided view of events," said Jones. "It's a view crafted and controlled by the government agencies and we have a lot to say about that in due course."

Wormuth, a Republican, announced last June that she would not run for reelection this November.

Regina Parker, chairwoman of the Halfmoon Republican Committee, said the news of the charges “sickens” her organization.

Parker told WAMC that the Halfmoon Republican Committee had no prior knowledge of any wrongdoings committed by Wormuth.

"None, absolutely no knowledge of any wrongdoings that Mindy was involved with," said Parker.

According to the Attorney General’s office, Wormuth admitted to the FBI that she had cashed and spent checks made payable to her campaign, and that Wormuth attributed some of her actions to resentment over not receiving her party’s endorsement for reelection.

The Halfmoon Republican Committee had chosen to endorse candidate Kevin Tollisen in the run-up to election day.

When asked what she expects in any candidate to run for town supervisor, Parker responded saying, "character, integrity, and honesty."

Wormuth is due back in court on November 14th.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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