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Former state worker sentenced for unauthorized spending of taxpayer dollars

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  • Staff Report 

Thomas Telesco, a 42-year-old former employee of the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), was sentenced to five years’ probation after illicitly spending over $4,500 of state funds. The sentencing took place on Tuesday by Honorable Michael L. Dwyer in Oneida County Court, where Telesco was also ordered to repay the full amount. He had previously admitted to third-degree grand larceny following an investigation sparked by his own misuse of a state-issued credit card.

The investigation, initiated by a referral from OPWDD and led by New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang, revealed Telesco made unauthorized fuel purchases at various gas stations after his employment was terminated. This misuse of a state credit card involved buying fuel for himself and acquaintances, uncovered through surveillance footage and matching receipts.

Inspector General Lang condemned the fraud, highlighting the significance of protecting taxpayer funds and ensuring justice in public service sectors. The case underscores the state’s zero tolerance for theft and fraud, especially within agencies serving vulnerable populations. Lang’s office, in coordination with the City of Rome Police Department and OPWDD, successfully brought Telesco’s case to a close, emphasizing their commitment to upholding integrity and accountability within state operations.