New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro and United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York Grant C. Jaquith today announced the sentencing of a former New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) engineer-in-charge who used his position overseeing a road rehabilitation project to obtain more than $17,000 worth of power equipment and services for his own personal use.
Jerome Lauzon, 43, of Hearthstone Drive, Gansevoort, was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York in Albany to one year of probation and fined $5,000 today on a federal charge of Theft or Bribery Concerning a Program Receiving Federal Funds.
“This individual – entrusted with overseeing a multi-million-dollar highway project – abused his position to personally benefit and leave taxpayers with the bill,” said New York State Inspector General Tagliafierro. “My office will continue to partner with law enforcement across New York to hold any State employee who misuses their position for personal gain responsible for their actions.”
Lauzon, a former engineer-in-charge at DOT, was accused of using his position on a $10.5 million highway rehabilitation project in Saratoga and Washington Counties to obtain more than $17,000 worth of power equipment and services from a contractor working on the project for his own personal use. Additionally, Lauzon facilitated the reimbursement of the contractor for the equipment and services from government funds.
An investigation by the New York State Inspector General and the United States Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General found that between late 2012 and 2017, Lauzon used his position to have a project contractor purchase numerous items for his own personal use, including a laptop computer and other computing equipment, a snowblower, lawn mower, pressure washer, and paint sprayer, as well as pay for car repairs.
Further, Lauzon falsified project records to make it appear as though the items purchased for him by the contractor were legitimate costs associated with the road rehabilitation project, thereby passing the cost of the purchases to New York State, which reimbursed the company pursuant to the terms of the contract. All the items, however, were delivered to or remained at Lauzon’s home and were never used on the State’s road project.
Lauzon pled guilty last year to a State charge of Official Misconduct in a related case, paid restitution to New York State, and resigned from State employment as a result of the plea.
Inspector General Tagliafierro thanked United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York Grant C. Jaquith and his office for prosecuting this matter, as well as the DOT and the United States Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General for their assistance with the investigation.