State Police Mechanics from Canastota Accused of Stealing From State
Two Canastota men who had been working as mechanics for New York State Police are now on the wrong side of law, accused of stealing nearly $30,000 worth of auto parts and supplies from New York State and its taxpayers.
Jeffrey Rapasadi, 57, and David Relyea, 64, both of Canastota, were both civilian employees, charged with maintaining the State Police Troop D fleet of vehicles, based in Oneida, according to New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
The thefts allegedly took place between April 2015 and October 2020.
A release from DiNapoli's office said “Our investigation uncovered these illegal actions by our own employees, who used State Police resources for their personal benefit. We will not tolerate illegal activity by our employees — civilian or sworn — and we will hold them accountable for their actions,” said State Police Acting Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen. “We thank the Comptroller and the Madison County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance on this case.”
Between April 2015 and October 2020, the two men are alleged to have used a State Police paid account to buy auto park and tools for their own use. Then, the men would falsify invoices to coverup their activity, officials said.
''When state police searched the defendants’ homes, they recovered more than $24,000 worth of state funded auto supplies, tools and parts at Rapasadi’s home and more than $4,800 worth of police property at Relyea’s home,'' a release announcing the arrest of the two men read.
The Comptroller's Office said Relyea, who owns his own automobile repair business would use many of those parts on vehicles he was servicing, using the state account to buy the items, benefiting his personal business operation.
''Investigators found invoices worth $4,173 for parts that did not fit on police vehicles with his name on them. Rasapadi’s name appeared on invoices for $1,342 in parts that also did not fit on police vehicles,'' the release stated.
Rapasadi is charged with 28 felony counts including corrupting the government, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, officials said. Relyea, meanwhile, faces eight felony and three misdemeanor charges including corrupting the government, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property and official misconduct. Rapasadi is also charged with falsifying his time and attendance records which resulted in him receiving more than $7,000 in unearned leave credits.
DiNapoli's office says both men had worked for New York for at least three decades, but both retired during the investigation and were not employed by the state when they were arrested. The two men were arraigned in Oneida County Court on Thursday and released.
They're do back in court next month.
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