Prattsville's O'Hara asking for probation for post-hurricane fraud
Andrea Macko reports for Porcupine Soup that former Prattsville Town Supervisor Kory O’Hara is asking for probation for the financial fraud he admits to, taking grant money in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Federal prosecutors are in partial agreement over that proposed sentence. While he could be sentenced for 20 years in prison, O’Hara is asking for one year of probation from Justice Frederick J. Scullin, while the U.S. Attorney’s Office is recommending one to five years’ probation. O’Hara admits that between 2013 and 2015, he obtained false invoices from Stephen Baker, the owner of Moore’s Homes in Prattsville, faking construction work performed on his automotive garage, O’Hara’s Service Station. Baker returned all of the money from O’Hara, who submitted the false invoices to fraudulently obtain $24,915 in grant proceeds. At the time, Prattsville businesses were getting all sorts of grants after the remnants of Hurricane Irene wiped out much of the town in 2011. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cyrus P.W. Rieck wrote a memo to the court that said O’Hara, as town supervisor, knew “full well that grantees were required to pay for projects in full and provide proof of payment before collecting grant proceeds under the New York Main Steet Program." In July, O’Hara pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and agreed to $24,915 in restitution to get all the other charges against him dropped. O'Hara's lawyer suggested that local reporting of O'Hara's fraud will stop him from any future crimes. “The local press has caused him to lose customers and affected his reputation in Prattsville," O’Hara’s attorney Lauren Owens said. "O’Hara has been adequately deterred from any future criminal conduct and there is no need to protect the public from any future crimes by Mr. O’Hara." Read the full story at Porcupine Soup.