Comptroller Robin Lois Announces Audit of County Bills Related to Bottini Fuel

Review Follows Bottini Fuel Pleading Guilty to Falsifying Records and Diverting Account Balances

Dutchess County Comptroller Robin Lois today announced that her office will undertake a review of all payments from Dutchess County to Morgan Fuel & Heating Company, Inc., doing business as Bottini Fuel. This immediately follows Bottini Fuel pleading guilty in Wappingers Falls Village Court yesterday to falsifying business records and diverting credit balances belonging to accounts, including government customers. Bottini Fuel has agreed to pay over $3.2 million in criminal restitution and civil damages under an agreement with the Office of the State Comptroller and the State Attorney General. The Dutchess County Department of Social Services was listed among the governmental victims filed in the civil settlement by the State Attorney General.

Comptroller Lois noted that while Dutchess County was a customer of Bottini Fuel for years, the County no longer buys fuel from Bottini Fuel following a change in the State Bid earlier this year.

“While safeguards in Dutchess County’s financial system do not allow for payment of duplicate invoices, the complexity of this scheme to defraud customers requires a thorough review of account balances and payments,” said Comptroller Robin Lois. “Though no other County departments were listed as victims by the Attorney General, my office will immediately undertake this review to ensure that Dutchess County Taxpayers were not defrauded, and immediately seek restitution in the event that additional monies are owed.”

Comptroller Lois also announced that the County has entered into a contract with a utility auditing firm to assist in undertaking a comprehensive review of all utility and telecommunication accounts held by Dutchess County. Working with the Dutchess County Office of Central and Information Services and Department of Public Works, this audit will review six years of payments on all accounts. This specialized firm will help identify errors in utility and telecommunication rates, tariffs, and service options, and will seek refunds or cost reductions where errors are found.