Updated: 10/02/2013 9:00 PM
Created: 10/02/2013 12:03 PM WHEC.com
By: Amanda Ciavarri
Thousands of dollars stolen and some of you paid for it. Investigators say a dispatcher with the Gates Fire Department padded his time sheet and raked in more than $65,000 taxpayer dollars.
Officers say Stephen Leuchtner added hours that he did not work to his time sheet for five years. He was arrested Tuesday night and charged with grand larceny and falsifying a business record. Now the department says it is making changes to make sure this doesn't happen again.
Gates Fire Chief Jim Harrington says the amount of false overtime in each paycheck was so small it went unnoticed. But in the course of five years, it certainly added up.
News10NBC did a story with Stephen Leuchtner while he was working with Henrietta Volunteer Ambulance and visited Ground Zero shortly after September 11, 2001. According to the chief, Leuchtner was assigned to perform EMS quality assurances reviews for the fire district, which is to make sure that firefighters and other staff have the most up-to-date training and are filling out paperwork as required.
The chief explained he would claim he did this in an eight hour period on his days off, but police say, after investigating, he never did that and he never even signed on to the program during the hours he claimed. The chief says this was brought to his attention in August.
Chief Jim Harrington, Gates Fire District, said, “We have several punch list items were there is double and triple redundancies when we process payroll when we process overtime, anything that is done offsite here. Unfortunately, the trust has been broke, and this individual did it. We formulate a committee internally consisting of our financial people, payroll department, deputy chief, assistant chief and myself, and we will be formulating additional procedures.”
Leuchtner pleaded not guilty in Gates Town Court Tuesday. He could face up to 15 years in jail if convicted. The chief says right now he is currently on administrative leave with the department. That means he is still getting paid. The chief isn't very happy about that, but says there are steps they have to take. He does says additional, internal charges will be filed soon.