MAHOPAC, N.Y. -- Michael Klein, the former treasurer of the Mahopac Fire Department, was sentenced to 77 months (more than six years) in prison Wednesday for embezzling more than $5.7 million from the department and failing to report the income to the IRS.
Klein, 49, lavished the embezzled money on himself, buying yachts, jewelry, and a second home in Florida, and then failed to report any of it on his tax returns, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. He faced up to 60 years in prison time.
Klein, who was elected treasurer in 2001, embezzled funds under his control by writing checks to the two businesses he owned, Abbie Graphic Services, Ltd. and Buckshollow Emergency Equipment Corp. from about January 2002 to about September 2015, the US Attorney's Office said.
Klein then deposited the checks to bank accounts held by Abbie Graphics or BEEC and entered these checks into the MVFD’s books as having been made payable to various vendors, other than Abbie Graphics or BEEC, that sold firefighting equipment or services used by fire departments, according to the US Attorney's Office.
“On hundreds of occasions over more than 13 years, Michael Klein stole from the volunteer fire department he was elected to serve," Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said. "Klein took more than $5 million of the fire department’s money, and used it to buy himself several boats, luxury cars, cruises, and tens of thousands of dollars of jewelry.
"Then he lied about it on his taxes, and obstructed the investigation of his crimes. Now, Michael Klein has been sentenced to the lengthy prison term that his crimes merit.”
To date, the Fire Department has been reimbursed $1 million through its insurance bond. As part of his guilty plea, he will have to repay the $5.7 million — $4.7 million still owed to the department and the $1 million owed to the insurance company.
Kim praised the investigative work of the IRS, FBI, New York State Comptroller, and New York State Police. He thanked the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance in the investigation.