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Baker pleads guilty in town court in Irene fraud case

May 19, 2022 5:45 am

Andrea Macko is reporting for Porcupine Soup Stephen Baker, owner of Moore’s Homes in Prattsville, pleaded guilty this month in Prattsville Town Court to one count of offering a false instrument for filing, a misdemeanor. As part of the plea deal, federal fraud charges were withdrawn, said Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione. In November 2019, Baker and former Prattsville Town Supervisor Kory O’Hara were indicted in federal court for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and theft. O’Hara was also charged with bank fraud and making false statements in a loan application. In March, Baker agreed to plead guilty to a state misdemeanor, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office agreed to then dismiss the federal charges, thereby satisfying the federal government's case against Baker. “He was sentenced to pay a fine and was granted a conditional discharge; the condition being that he engage in no further criminal activity,” Stanzione said. In August 2011, Hurricane Irene tore through northeastern New York. O’Hara was serving as the town supervisor at the time and under his administration, the town secured millions of dollars in federal rehabilitation funds. It was alleged that O’Hara and Baker used phony invoices from Baker’s modular home business to bill for work on O’Hara’s Service Station that was never done. According to authorities, O’Hara and Baker engaged in the fraud from 2013 through 2015. Both men were accused of profiting from the fraud by collecting funds through the New York State Main Street Program, the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and applying for a business loan with NBT Bank. As part of the plea agreement reached in March, O’Hara is expected to plead guilty to one count of the federal indictment, but exactly which charge O’Hara will plead to has not been disclosed. Also in March, Senior U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin agreed to a 90-day continuance for the parties to finalize the agreement. Read more at porcupine soup [dot] com.