CLARKSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – An employee who worked for the Albany County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years has been arrested, accused of stealing over $68,000 in checks from the agency. 60-year-old Colonie resident John Cox was arrested and charged with grand larceny and multiple counts of forgery.

“Betrayed is an understatement,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said during a press conference announcing the arrest Tuesday afternoon.

Apple said it’s a dark day for the Sheriff’s Office. Cox is accused of stealing the money over the course of several years.

“He was our head budget analyst, our head accountant, he ran our business office and needless to say, he’s betrayed every bit of trust that I had in him,” the sheriff explained.

The discovery was made during an audit by the Department of Justice. Last week, a check associated with a VIN number was uncovered, but the vehicle could not be located.

“It’s not uncommon for us to take like a seized vehicle, trade it into a local dealership, and then whatever the difference is, we would use a check to pay that difference. So that has happened, it’s just that this transaction, we couldn’t track it,” Apple said.

As the investigation continued to uncover irregularities, Apple says Cox approached him.

“He came forward indicating there was no vehicle and he had taken that check,” said the sheriff.

That check was worth around $18,000 and wasn’t the only one. Apple says Cox was able to forego the normal process of getting approval from higher authorities by forging the sheriff’s signature on the checks.

Apple says the money was used for gambling debts, “Unfortunately the mechanisms we had in place to prevent this, he was a part of. We entrusted him, he had everything, he ran my budget.”

Several months ago, the Sheriff’s Office began working with the Albany County Comptroller to secure purchase orders. This process no longer allows for cutting checks.

The investigation is ongoing and has discovered stolen checks from as far back as 2021 to this point, “I’m sure the money was probably gambled, that’s not my problem. We want the money back. Every penny back,” Apple said.

The sheriff says the money stolen was federal, and is meeting with the FBI to see if they will take part in the investigation.

Cox was arraigned in Albany City Court Tuesday on multiple charges related to him allegedly stealing from the Sheriff’s Office.

Cox is charged with grand larceny in the second-degree and five counts of forging, both are felonies.

He was released on his own recognizance as he awaits a future court date. Apple says it’s possible for additional charges to be brought against him as the investigation continues.