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Volkmann pleads guilty to stealing from state pension system, Chatham village

Feb 12, 2021 6:00 am

Natasha Vaughn and Aliya Schneider are reporting for Columbia-Greene Media former Hudson police commissioner and Chatham village police chief Peter Volkmann pleaded guilty February 11, to illegally collecting nearly $93,000 from the village of Chatham and the state pension system. Volkmann, 57, a resident of Stuyvesant, was arraigned on charges filed by the New York State Police following an investigation by the State Comptroller’s Office, Columbia County District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Police. Volkmann pleaded guilty to taking state and local pension funds in the amount of $74,222, and $18,607 from the village by falsifying mileage vouchers and other reimbursements. The plea effectively terminates Volkmann’s tenure as an officer and as chief of police, said Chatham Mayor John Howe. He must also pay restitution in the amount of $92,829. “Instead of upholding the law, Volkmann, the chief law enforcement officer of the village, defrauded the state retirement system and his community,” State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement. “Taxpayers have the right to expect their public officials, including law enforcement officials, will act with honesty and integrity.” Volkmann was arraigned on various charges, including two counts of public corruption, second-degree corrupting the government and second-degree grand larceny. He pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree grand larceny and official misconduct. He was arraigned in Columbia County Court under Superior Court information, Columbia County Assistant District Attorney Ryan Carty said. Volkmann was double dipping the state pension system, DiNapoli’s office said. “As a result of acts of omissions, Mr. Volkmann was able to steal $74,222 from the New York state pension system,” Carty said. He hid public-source income from 19 municipalities and school districts in excess of the statutory limit by funneling the earnings through a private business, PF Volkmann & Associates, according to DiNapoli. Financial irregularities involving Volkmann came to light in a routine village review in February 2020, Howe said. Volkmann was placed on administrative leave from the Chatham Police Department last September after the village was served with a search warrant related to the investigation. The chief was suspended from all duties at that time. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.

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