Ex-Lake George Watershed Coalition director sentenced for stealing grant funds

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QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — David Decker, the former Director of the Lake George Watershed Coalition, received an eight-year minimum sentence for stealing nearly a quarter of a million dollars in state grant funds.

The Warren County District Attorney and the New York State Comptroller’s Office announced the sentence—eight to 24 years—after jurors were convinced that Decker was guilty of six felonies.

Decker was found guilty of second-degree grand larceny, first-degree scheme to defraud, and four counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. In his position, he reportedly double-billed, pocketed payments for vendors, and falsified tax returns to divert federal and state grant money earmarked for improving the Lake George area.

“Mr. Decker helped himself to hundreds of thousands of dollars meant to help his community,” said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

Bank records imply that Decker used the money for gambling, withdrawing funds from the Watershed operating account at Saratoga Race Course, Foxwoods MGM, Harrah’s, and Turning Stone casinos. Records also indicate that he paid off credit card bills and other personal expenses, as well as transferring grant funds to his investment accounts.

“David Decker’s years of illegal conduct harmed local businesses, government entities, and not-for-profit organizations,” said District Attorney Jason Carusone. “The jury’s verdict and the court’s sentence send a strong message to the defendant that his ongoing criminal activity will not be tolerated.”

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