A former Croton-on-Hudson Fire Department chief and treasurer pled guilty Wednesday to stealing more than $300,000 from the department.
Gerald “Gerry” Munson, 64, who also worked as a Croton police officer in the past, could face more than four years in prison when he is sentenced on October 29 following his plea before Judge Michael Martinelli in Westchester County Court to grand larceny in the second degree as a crime of public corruption.
At the time of his guilty plea, Munson paid $124,383 in restitution. As fire department treasurer, Munson was responsible for maintaining the Croton-On-Hudson Fire Department bank account and financial records despite having no prior qualifications or background in accounting or financial matters. The felony complaint alleges that he used his position as treasurer to steal and conceal his theft of approximately $312,925 from the Fire Department, according to the Westchester District Attorney’s Office.
The money he stole included portions of the so-called “2 Percent Money” paid annually to the Fire Department by New York State in connection with the state’s two percent tax on fire insurance. For years, Munson was able to conceal his ongoing theft by altering and manipulating the department’s bank records. Those alterations and manipulations included his underreporting of the amount of “2 Percent Money” received by the department in order to balance the books and hide what he stole for himself.
In February 2018, members of the Fire Department’s internal Audit Committee discovered that Munson had provided them with false 2017 bank statements. When confronted by the Audit Committee, Munson admitted he had created the false statements on his home computer; that he had stolen money from the department’s account for his own personal use; and that he had used the Fire Department’s debit card as if it were his own.