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Livingston County Time Card Scheme

Former Livingston County Sheriff John York responds to time card scheme that happened on his watch.
The former top cops in Livingston County are speaking out about the pay for hire scheme at the county jail.   Nine former jail deputies were convicted Monday in connection with a time card scheme.   They were accused of paying part-time deputies $50.00 to $100.00 a pop to work their shifts, in order to take time off.
The judge had harsh words for the former sheriff's administration.   But, they're not taking the blame.

The time card fraud was going on for years.  Longtime sheriff John York was at the helm at the time.   Jim Szczesniak served as the undersheriff.  The district attorney alleges the shift swapping was rampant for years and known by members of York's administration.  York and Szczesniak both say that's untrue.

Eight former Livingston County jail deputies accepted plea deals in Geneseo village court.  Dropping the misdemeanor charge to a violation.   The ninth deputy pleaded guilty to the main original charge.  Although the district attorney says the administration at the time knew about the shift swapping, there was no evidence to prove anyone authorized the pay for hire system."

"We have to show knowledge on the part of the supervisors that they knew and the authorized this to go on.  There's not one section in the penal law, and trust me when I say we looked, that would apply to the members of the administration based on the information that we have.  There's no charge that fits the conduct they had.  They authorized lying, but they did not endorse the pay for hire," said Greg McCaffrey, Livingston County District Attorney.

Village Judge Thomas Bushnell described this as his worst day as a judge.    Clearly referring to longtime Sheriff John York,  who retired last year,  "The person or persons who allowed this to happen retired to the shadows with accolades and testimonials," said Thomas Bushnell, Geneseo Village Judge.

We went to former Sheriff York's home Monday evening.   He answered the door,  but declined an on camera interview.  York did tell News 8, "We held them accountable.  We did an investigation.  I put a camera up on the swipe card machine. And they caught them," said John York, former Livingston County Sheriff.

Former Undersheriff Jim Szczesniak denies he had any prior knowledge of the scheme either.

"Clearly we did not retire into the shadows.  I think the district attorney acknowledged that he was able to make a criminal case based on the investigation that we had conducted.  So we didn't walk away from this.  The investigation was done.  We moved forward as far as we could and then the State Police went to further it," said Jim Szczesniak, former Livingston County Undersheriff.

One of the defense attorneys says the deputies want to know why supervisors were not held accountable. 

"He pointed out the fact that these were deputies that were charged.  There was no administration.  There were no bosses that were involved with this.  It was the low man on the totem pole that really took the fall," said Kevin Van Allen, defense attorney.

Current Sheriff Tom Dougherty says he has put new policies and practices in place to make sure this never happens again.

"Fortunately we have not had any discrepancies in my administration.  But there's written policy and procedure on it that says if there's any discrepancy, they are to notify me immediately and a full blown audit will be done in that payroll," said Tom Dougherty, Livingston County Sheriff.

All of the deputies have resigned and are looking for work elsewhere. 

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