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Southern Tier Mayor Accused of Stealing Money from Village

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The mayor of a Southern Tier village has been arrested on felony charges stemming from an investigation by the New York State Comptroller’s Office and State Police.

In March 2023, the Village of Candor hired an outside consultant to assist with its annual reports. The consultant noted that Mayor Eric Halstead had made regular cash withdrawals from the village’s General Fund which were recorded by the Village as either “ATM Withdrawal” or “Mayor’s Discretionary.” The discovery was referred to the Office of the State Comptroller.

The investigation revealed that Mayor Halstead allegedly withdrew $23,519 in cash between February 2017 and May 2023 and either deposited the money into his personal bank account or spent it. At the time the deposits were made, the mayor’s bank account was generally depleted or had a negative balance. Sporadically over the years, money was put back into the General Fund through cash or check deposits totaling $19,302. The withdrawals and deposits were recorded as “Mayor’s Discretionary” or “ATM withdrawals” in the Village ledger. The investigation found that Mayor Halstead allegedly unilaterally gave himself interest-free loans using public funds and still has not repaid the Village over $4,000 of the funds he took.

“Mayor Halstead was entrusted by his community to serve their interests, but instead allegedly treated the village’s money as his own,” State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said. “My thanks to Tioga County District Attorney Kirk Martin and the New York State Police for their partnership in ensuring justice will be served.”

New York State Police Superintendent Steven G. James said, “This arrest should serve as a reminder that those who choose to abuse their positions will be brought to justice. The arrest of Mayor Halstead sends a strong message that we will not tolerate dishonest actions by those who use their position at the expense of the public. I thank the Comptroller’s Office and the Tioga County District Attorney’s Office for their commitment to investigating those who prey on the unsuspecting public for their own gain.”

Halstead has served as Candor’s mayor since 2012.

The 67-year-old Candor resident was charged with grand larceny and corrupting the government, both felonies and was released to appear in court in early August.

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