May 2, 2021

Saranac town clerk charged with embezzlement

SARANAC, N.Y. (WCAX) – Saranac’s town clerk was arrested Thursday on embezzlement charges. Authorities say…

SARANAC, N.Y. (WCAX) – Saranac’s town clerk was arrested Thursday on embezzlement charges.

Authorities say Mary Bell, 54, falsified records to cover up over $800 in cash skimmed from town fees including dog licenses, marriage licenses, building permits, and a death certificate, To hide the missing cash, they say Bell substituted funds leftover from a dormant town clerk bank account. The alleged crimes took place over a four-month period starting in April 2017.

Authorities say Bell’s actions were brought to light during a routine examination by the state comptroller’s office. “Ms. Bell, as an elected official, swore to act with honesty and integrity. Instead, she took advantage of her position to manipulate the town’s records to cover for missing cash she was supposed to deposit.” State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement. “Thanks to our partnership with Clinton County District Andrew Wylie and the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department, Bell’s actions were exposed and she is now being held accountable.”

Bell was charged with falsifying business records, corrupting the government, and official misconduct. She is due back in court on May 27.

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