ALBANY—The state's top parole official pleaded not guilty today to felony charges related to the theft of a state laptop.
George B. Alexander resigned as the CEO of the State Division of Parole on Friday. It was reported that he was expected to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge when appearing in court Monday, which a source familiar with the investigation confirmed, but instead entered a plea of not guilty to charges of grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.
Alexander was due to appear in court Monday, but the appearance was rescheduled because of snowpocalyptic weather. He was arraigned Tuesday before Buffalo City Court Judge Jeffery Voekl, and released on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty. Prosecutors from the Office of the Attorney General alleged Alexander took a laptop valued at $1,700 when he was the director of the Erie County Probation Department. He kept the laptop as he was promoted to chairman and CEO of the State Division of Parole.
"The equation is simple: in order to serve the public, officials must obey the law," said Attorney General Cuomo in a statement. "Any act of theft by a public official is an insult to all New Yorkers. My office is committed to vigorously pursuing cases involving allegations of abuse of the public's trust."
According to papers filed with the court, Alexander initially told investigators he did not have the computer. When the laptop was found, Alexander said he was unaware it was in his house, and didn't know his son had been using it.
He told investigators from the office of Inspector General Joseph Fisch that he forgot he had the laptop.
Alexander is represented by John Elmore, who has known him in a professional capacity for over 20 years.
"I don't know George Alexander to be anything other than an outstanding criminal justice professional," Elmore said. "I believe that in this community he has enjoyed a remarkable, outstanding reputation."