Former Prattsville town supervisor's trial set for July
Andrea Macko is reporting for Porcupine Soup the trial of former Prattsville Town Supervisor Kory O’Hara will begin on July 26, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged O’Hara, 44, along with Prattsville resident Stephen Baker, 69, with fraud relating to various grants awarded to the town of Prattsville following Hurricane Irene. The indictment charged O’Hara and Baker with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and theft concerning a program receiving federal funds. O’Hara is also charged with bank fraud and making false statements in a loan application. In April U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin set the trial date for July 26, citing COVID-19 as a reason. The continuance came at the request of attorney William J. Dreyer, who represents O’Hara, and E. Stewart Jones, the attorney for Baker. The matter has been delayed multiple times due to COVID restrictions and safety protocols. According to court documents, the government offered a proposed plea agreement to each of the defendants in March. By setting a potential trial date in July, the parties now have time to review and consider those agreements. Hurricane Irene caused devastating damage to the town of Prattsville in August 2011, resulting in the distribution of millions of dollars in rehabilitation grants to Prattsville and its residents. The indictment alleges that between 2013 and 2015, Baker produced false invoices from his Prattsville-based modular home business claiming to reflect construction work done to O’Hara’s automotive garage and presented them for payment. O’Hara allegedly issued checks to Baker's business, called Moore’s Homes, and showed the invoices as paid, but Baker returned all of the funds, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. O’Hara then allegedly submitted the bogus invoices and fully reimbursed checks to the town and the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation to obtain nearly $25,000 in grant proceeds under the New York Main Street Program. O'Hara is also accused of a similar scheme involving the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. O’Hara and Baker are currently released on their own recognizance. Read the full story at porcupinesoup [dot] com.