Ex-SUNY Empire State facilities director arrested for misappropriating funds

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The former Empire State College Director of Facilities, Erik K. “Rick” Reimann, 51, of Saratoga Springs, was arrested after an investigation into $31,685 in taxpayer funds he allegedly used on personal expenses.

According to New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro, lax oversight allegedly let Reimann make 171 unauthorized purchases with a SUNY credit card over a three-and-a-half-year period.

Reimann was arrested and arraigned Friday on:

  • 44 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument
  • 40 counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing
  • Third-degree grand larceny

Convictions for all of these counts would be worth hundreds of years in prison.

The director of facilities since 2010, Reimann allegedly used the taxpayer-funded credit card fraudulently from January 2016 and August 2019. He reportedly concealed the unauthorized purchases by forging or altering receipts and statements so they looked legitimate.

The investigation also indicated that Reimann’s activities went so long undetected because of poor supervision. His direct supervisor allegedly failed to monitor his actions, and new leadership at the school in July 2019 quickly discovered the alleged misconduct. Reimann, the supervisor, and others were subsequently fired, according to Tagliafierro.

“This individual abused his position and the public’s trust when he devised a ploy to purchase thousands of dollars’ worth of personal items with a state-issued credit card and then took steps to conceal his crime,” said Inspector General Tagliafierro. “I applaud Empire State College’s leadership for identifying the systemic problem, quickly making necessary personnel changes, and implementing important safeguards to keep this gross abuse of taxpayer dollars from happening again.”

The inspector general names a laundry list of alleged fraudulent purchases, ranging from $10 to $2,550. It includes equipment for home improvement and yard work, supplies for camping, skiing, and grilling, kitchen appliances, watches, water and air filters, and parts for trucks and guitars.

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