By Steven Cook
Police charged Sean P. Flaherty, 41, of Clifton Park, after an investigation that began in December with a tip. Flaherty faces felony counts of second-degree grand larceny and falsifying records.
The $50,000 sum cited by police is the threshold for the larceny charge filed against Flaherty. The actual amount of funds that went missing during Flaherty’s time as director could be as much as $140,000, according to court documents. The funds were spent on unauthorized payments to hotels, an airline and a cruise line, according to court documents.
The charges come after the investigation prompted Shenendehowa Senior Citizens Inc. to transfer operation of the center to the town of Clifton Park on Dec. 17. The group had run the center since the late 1980s, officials said.
Flaherty was arrested Wednesday. He was arraigned and ordered held on $5,000 bail, though he was later released and is due back in court next week. An attorney listed for him could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
Flaherty is accused of taking the money between January 2013 and December 2016 using an ATM card and automatic payments to his personal account, police said. Flaherty served as executive director from about 2012 until he left on Dec. 14, according to court documents.
Flaherty is also accused of concealing the thefts from the center’s Board of Directors by submitting 15 falsified balance sheets over his time with the organization, according to court documents.
The investigation began Dec. 8, after a board member received a tip that payroll payments were not clearing and vendors were not being paid, according to a Dec. 20 account from board president Alicia Kelley that was filed by police with the court.
Kelley contacted board treasurer Roger Greenwood. She also confronted Flaherty herself the next day. Flaherty said he did not have access to the accounts in question, and he demanded to know who reported the issues, according to Kelley’s account. But Kelley soon discovered multiple letters from the U.S. Treasury Department advising of tens of thousands of dollars in payroll tax liens, she told investigators.
Treasurer Roger Greenwood, on Jan. 9, told state police that more than $140,000 was missing from the center’s accounts, according to court documents. Greenwood found $9,000 in unauthorized withdrawals from the center’s account in 2013; $23,000 in 2014; $29,000 in 2015 and nearly $45,000 in 2016. He also identified more than $33,000 in other unauthorized withdrawals over that time frame, according to the court document.
He then listed some of the unauthorized charges, including the airline and cruise companies. He also identified ATM withdrawals, including withdrawals at the Saratoga Racino, the account states.