Oct. 31—RAY BROOK — A staff member at Adirondack Correctional Facility has pleaded guilty to a felony after submitting 28 forged doctors' notes to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision in an effort to extend her sick leave and receive benefits.
Kathleen Baeder of Essex County pleaded guilty to a felony charge of attempted criminal possession of a forged instrument, New York Inspector General Lucy Lang announced Monday. Baeder was sentenced to five years of probation and was ordered to pay restitution totaling $4,593 by state Supreme Court Justice Richard Meyer.
This investigation, conducted in conjunction with New York State Police and the DOCCS Office of Special Investigations, uncovered that from approximately Oct. 21, 2021, to Feb. 2, 2022, Baeder, an employee at Adirondack Correctional Facility, submitted 28 forged doctors' notes to DOCCS, according to a news release from Lang's office. Baeder's submission of these forged notes resulted in her fraudulently extending her sick leave over a four-month period and receiving more than $4,500 in benefits to which she was not entitled, the release said.
"This case serves as an important reminder of why we build strong partnerships with law enforcement and state agencies," Lang said in a statement. "The work and swift communication between the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, New York State Police, and the Offices of the Inspector General, led to the apprehension and prosecution of a state employee abusing workplace benefits and violating the public trust."
"Any individual who violates the public's trust by engaging in criminal activity, will be aggressively pursued and referred for criminal prosecution," DOCCS acting Commissioner Daniel J. Martuscello III said in the release. "Illegal action such as this negatively impacts the hard working staff who perform their duties in a professional manner, often under difficult circumstances, to achieve the mission of the Department and provide public safety for the state. DOCCS appreciates the cooperation of the various agencies that resulted in the criminal prosecution of this former employee."
The matter was handled by Bryan Richmond, attorney-in-charge for Workers' Compensation Fraud for the state inspector general.
Those who suspect benefit fraud has taken place can file a complaint on ig.ny.gov or by calling 1 -800-DO-RIGHT.