Mazzuca Pleads Guilty to Insurance Fraud, Gets Conditional Discharge

Community service required

By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong

Former Philipstown Supervisor Bill Mazzuca pleaded guilty in Cold Spring Justice Court Wednesday, May 8, to charges of insurance fraud and received a one-year conditional discharge.

As part of the agreement terminating immediate legal action, he agreed to perform 40 hours of community service conducted through the Putnam County alternatives to incarceration program. Under a stipulation announced by Judge Thomas Costello, Mazzuca cannot provide the community service for any department or agency of the Town of Philipstown. Mazzuca serves on the town Recreation Commission.

Mazzuca withdrew a former plea of not guilty as part of the settlement, drawn up with the cooperation of the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office. He had previously faced more serious charges, including one of grand larceny.

In January, following an investigation, Mazzuca was accused of fraudulently claiming $16,820 in unemployment compensation in 2009 while working as Philipstown supervisor for an annual salary of $25,000. Mazzuca left office at the end of 2009, after not seeking re-election.

“He received benefits” for which he was ineligible, Mazzuca’s attorney, William Burke, said after the brief courtroom action. “That’s what he pled guilty to.” Both Burke and Mazzuca refused to comment further.

In the courtroom, Costello reminded Mazzuca that the discharge is temporary, conditioned upon Mazzuca’s fulfillment of the agreement. He observed that Mazzuca had already met one requirement by repaying the $16,820.

The false claims submission occurred three to four years after Mazzuca retired from being superintendent of the Taconic Correctional Facility in Fishkill, with a $115,513 pension. After leaving his state prison system post, he temporarily held a $90,615 job as a security liaison in the New York Power Authority, another state agency, and worked as a deputy corrections commissioner in Westchester County for $120,000 annually.


HOW WE REPORT
Trust MarkThe Current is a member of The Trust Project, a consortium of news outlets that has adopted standards to allow readers to more easily assess the credibility of their journalism. Our best practices, including our verification and correction policies, can be accessed here. Have a comment? A news tip? Spot an error? Email editor@highlandscurrent.org.

5 thoughts on “Mazzuca Pleads Guilty to Insurance Fraud, Gets Conditional Discharge

  1. Mr. Mazzuca has spent his life feeding at the public trough — the money he received at the jobs listed above is remarkable. For all that these “public servants” claim that they are doing their jobs for the betterment of their community, it turns out that they are paid quite well for their non-existent “sacrifices.” Let’s do the math, using the number listed above to try and extrapolate just how profitable Mazzuca’s public career was:

    Superintendent of Taconic Correctional Facility: Yearly salary $90,000-$100,000 estimate based on pension.

    Temporary security liaison with NYPA- $90,615

    Deputy corrections commissioner in Westchester- $120,000 annually.

    Town Supervisor- $25,000 (I know, a mere bagatelle, but there are plenty of residents who’d take that job in a heartbeat)

    Depending on how long he worked at these jobs, and using the numbers that were set forth in the article, it appears that the taxpayers of New York have made Mr. Mazzuca a millionaire, especially when you add in the cost of his generous benefits. I cannot fathom the extreme hubris it took to make him feel he was entitled to an additional $16,820 in fraudulent unemployment compensation on top of all the other money he was making. Where is the outrage about this story? Why was Mazzuca tried before a Cold Spring judge who probably should have recused himself from the case?

    Hard to believe that such deference was granted that he was allowed to appear before a local judge and then plea bargain down to a meaningless punishment. Can you imagine what would happen to one of us non-connected common folk if we tried to pull such a scam? Then again, even his colleagues who knew him apparently are in such deep denial that they don’t want to admit the truth — that this “public servant” was basically a greedy politician who looked at the people he was supposed to serve as nothing more than a cash cow.

    • Do you know what a low-class, low-life criminal is when you see one? If he had the chance to do it again and not get caught (or just get a slap on the hand as he did), I suspect he would. Some people will sell their souls for next to nothing.

  2. I do not know Mr. Mazzuca well enough to defend him (I don’t know him personally at all but have dealt with him as my Town Supervisor) but it seems as if the folks commenting are being a bit harsh. The guy made a mistake and he is being punished for it. As an employer of many workers over the years, I can tell you that it is quite common for people to get caught mistakenly or fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits. I have never heard of one of them going to jail.

    The $25,000 he received as Philipstown Supervisor probably amounted to little more than minimum wage if you divided up the amount of hours one would have to put in to do the job well (and I had never heard talk of Mr. Mazzuca shirking his responsibilities). If he abused his position for personal gain, it certainly hasn’t been demonstrated by anything I’ve read here. Why pile on?

  3. It was not a “mistake.” A mistake is when your teenager who’s just learning how to drive, takes out your car and gets into a fender bender. A mistake is when you hit the “send” button on your computer without checking who the email is going to. In short, Mazzuca should have known better and he probably did. I believe that he knew full well that that he wasn’t entitled to the 16 grand when he started double and triple dipping into the public trough at which he’s been feeding all these many years.

    This was not naivete or inexperience or even mismanagement. Rather, it was an act of entitlement. This is a man who ran a prison, who controlled the lives of people who had committed crimes maybe not so different than what he did. This is a man who was responsible for running a town and overseeing large sums of money that amounted to millions of dollars. In short, this is a man who felt he was so far above the rest of us, the tax slaves who continue to pay his way, that he could do what he darn well pleased — the law did not apply to him.

    I don’t know what your relationship is with the former supervisor/ prison warden/security guard, but I would be careful about defending his behavior too much, lest you be accused of what Daniel Patrick Moynihan once termed “defining deviancy down.”