2014-02-13 / Front Page

Town objects to AG’s penalties

By Tim Riel

Jamestown officials have told the attorney general’s office that they are opposed to the state’s suggested disposition in the Andrea Masterson embezzlement case. The town councilors voted unanimously last week objecting to the punishment.

Masterson, a former clerk for the Parks & Recreation Department, has been accused of taking more than $50,000 from the town over the course of several years. Attorney General Peter Kilmartin proposed sending the case to its diversion unit, an alternative to prosecution for first-time nonviolent felons. If Masterson were to complete the program, she would be cleared of all criminal charges. She would, however, have to pay the town an “undetermined amount of restitution,” according to a press release from Town Administrator Kevin Paicos.

The Town Council decided the “nature of the incident alleged to have occurred was of such a serious and substantial nature, that a more fitting disposition than referral to the diversion program” was warranted.

Masterson, 33, was arrested by Jamestown police in May 2012 and charged with embezzlement. She was initially arrested for allegedly taking $290 in cash over a five-day period. The investigation began after Recreation Director Bill Piva alerted the town’s finance officials that there was missing revenue from the department’s office. Finance Director Tina Collins informed then-Town Administrator Bruce Keiser about the cash discrepancies. Keiser in turn notified Police Chief Ed Mello about the suspicious activity.

Following the investigation, Mello determined Masterson had allegedly been taking various amounts of cash from the recreation office and falsifying records.

Masterson began working for the town as a part-time clerk in January 2008. She was immediately fired following the arrest.

The attorney general is handling the prosecution because the charge is a felony. The town, as the alleged victim, has the right to comment on the proposed disposition. The councilors voted to protest the proposed disposition after being briefed by Paicos, Mello and Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero.

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