State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office announced this afternoon that an investigation administered by their office revealed that a biologist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation routinely went drinking at a local bar during the workday while receiving a paycheck from the state.
According to Mr. DiNapoli, Christopher Keim admitted that he went to the bar two to three times a week, often for hours at a time, for as long as two years.
“At a time when state employees were concerned about keeping their jobs, this individual took advantage of his position, and the trust of his supervisors, to rip off state taxpayers,” Mr. DiNapoli said. “This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated and deserves criminal prosecution.”
Mr. Keim, 43, who surrendered himself to State Police today, cost taxpayers thousands of dollars a year, Mr. DiNapoli alleged. He was charged with grand larceny, defrauding the government and offering a false instrument for filing. He was released on his own recognizance, faces up to seven years in prison.
An analysis by the comptroller’s office showed that Mr. Keim submitted timesheets which showed that he worked entire shifts when he in fact took several hours off and failed to charge any accruals for the time he spent at the bar. Investigators also obtained Mr. Keim’s bar tabs, confirming the times, dates and nature of his purchases.
Mr. Keim admitted to the charges and told the comptroller’s office that he ook advantage of his supervisor because the nature of his duties allowed him to be away from his desk frequently.
According to Mr. DiNapoli, Mr. Keim’s missed work time cost the state as much as $35,823 in salary and fringe benefits. He was required by New York State law to work 37.5 hours a week.