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Former DOCS Food Processing Center Director Pleads Guilty

Howard Dean (left) pleads guilty in Oneida County Court on March 31, 2011, standing next to his attorney, Dennis Sedor

Utica, NY (WIBX) - The former director of the State Department of Correctional Services Food Processing Center in Rome is pleading guilty to grand larceny and will have to pay $100,000 in restitiution.

For 17 years, Howard Dean, 65, falsely filled out time sheets indicating he worked Friday’s, when he never actually did, according to an audit conducted last year by the state Comptroller’s Office and Office of the Attorney General. And, because he lived in Cayuga County but worked in Rome, Dean was also paid for travel, food and hotel stays even on the days he didn’t work.

Dean’s sentence will also include 6 months in the county jail and 5 years of probation.

His lawyer, Dennis Sedor, says Dean’s supervisors were well aware of his actions and approved it as a way to reward Dean for his work in developing a more efficient food distribution system, that not only saved the state money, but also qwelled many inmate complaints.

Dean worked at the Oneida Correctional Facility, but was responsible for providing food services for 70 state facilities, Dean said in Oneida County Court today. He retired in 2008, two years before the results of audit were released.

Sedor also said Dean has become a scapegoat, indicating that others may have been charged in the case but for a statute of limitations, because the practice had been in place for so long.

Oneida County Assitant District Attorney Michael Nolan doesn’t agree with the portrayal of Dean as a scapegoat, saying none of Dean’s bosses benefited from the money or perks he received. Nolan says Dean knew what he was doing was wrong, but continued to do it anyway.

Dean presented the court with a check of $25,000 today. He’s scheduled to pay another $25,000 when he is sentenced on June 16, 2011. The remaining $50,000 will need to paid oveer the course of his probabtion sentence.

Dean has been suffering from several medical issues, according to Sedor, including heart surgery last Septmber. He said a gallbladder infection may require surgery in the future as well.

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