ALBANY - Investigators say a New York prison official skipped Friday work shifts for 17 years and fraudulently collected pay for the time off.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Inspector General Joseph Fisch also say prison management looked the other way. The case has been referred to prosecutors while auditors look for more wrongdoing.

A report released Tuesday says Howard Dean, now retired as director of the food processing center at the Oneida Correctional Facility in Rome, filed bogus time sheets and travel documents that cost taxpayers $500,000.

Dean was a resident of Locke during his employment at the food processing center.

Corrections Commissioner Brian Fischer says the department has taken steps to improve internal controls.

In his response, Dean said he was entitled to the time and told investigators that he worked long hours on other days. He had no comment Tuesday.

This is a breakdown of what the joint report found regarding Dean's actions:

Fraudulent Travel Practices

Improper Travel Reimbursements ($205,114): Dean allegedly worked full-time at the center in Rome, but senior management inappropriately designated Auburn and later Albany as the official location of his job so Dean could improperly obtain reimbursement for travel costs, including hotels and per diem expenses for meals. Dean lived in Locke, which is 88 miles from the center.

Inappropriate Use of State Vehicle, Gas & Tolls ($32,293): Senior management assigned him a vehicle, which was in direct violation of the department’s policies, that Dean used to commute to work with gas and tolls paid for by taxpayers.

Falsified Claims ($7,393): An analysis of Dean’s E-Z Pass charges revealed that during a two-year period, Dean falsified documents and claimed he stayed at the Quality Inn in Rome for 75 nights, when in fact he did not. He had an arrangement with the owner and manager of the hotel to charge his state credit card on nights that he didn’t stay at the hotel. In some instances, the now current director of the center inappropriately stayed at the hotel and it was charged to Dean’s credit card.

Incorrectly Permitted to Stay in State Housing ($2,992): Dean’s managers allowed him to stay in state-owned housing for only $87 a month when rent for apartments in the Oneida County area is about $461 per month. He was not entitled to stay in state housing and the current director is not staying in state housing.

Double Dipping ($1,831): On several occasions, Dean ate his meals at the center but also submitted a request for meal reimbursement, essentially getting compensated twice.

Falsified Time and Attendance Records

Fridays Off ($229,765): Dean claimed on time sheets that he worked Fridays, when in fact, he never worked on Fridays. Dean freely admitted to auditors that he did not work Fridays for the entire 17 years he was in charge of the center, although he was paid for a five-day work week.

Unwarranted Benefits ($18,065): Dean received vacation time that he should not have received because he did not work on Friday.

How This Alleged Fraud Occurred - Management Cavalierly Disregarded Rules

Numerous examples were identified of senior management helping Dean manipulate the system and disregarding state rules and the department’s own rules so Dean could collect improper travel reimbursements;

Dean’s supervisor told auditors that Correctional Services management often disregarded state rules.
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