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N.Y. tax dollars may be going to lawyers, Cuomo thinks

By John O'Brien | Apr 14, 2008


ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - Lawyers and public school districts may have been ripping off taxpayers with fraudulent employment arrangements, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said recently.

That's why he has issued several subpoenas to upstate firms, suspicious that more than 90 attorneys may have been placed on public school system payrolls.

"Ensuring the highest standards of public integrity is of paramount concern to my office and to this state," Cuomo said. "State resources should never be expended on those who are not legally entitled to receive them.

"We are talking about lawyers well-versed in employment statutes who know that 'business as usual' is no excuse for breaking the law."

Cuomo is looking for information from more than 70 upstate attorneys and 20 in Long Island. They could have been able to collect taxpayer-funded health care, pensions and other benefits not available for professional consultants.

"In many instances, these were not simple misunderstandings but repeated acts of fraud," Cuomo said.

One attorney was on the payrolls of seven school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services in one year and may have gained more than $700,000 in pension benefits.

Cuomo's investigation began in February.

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