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Hilltowns Archives The Altamont Enterprise, October 4, 2007
Bryan pleads guilty, will pay
By Tyler Schuling
RENSSELAERVILLE David R. Bryan, a former town supervisor accused of stealing over $300,000 from four organizations in this rural town, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of larceny, a felony.
Under the terms of the plea bargain, Bryan faces between two-and-one-third to seven years in prison and must pay restitution to his victims. Christopher Baynes, chief of the Financial Crimes Bureau, prosecuted the case.
"He’s been extremely cooperative," said Bryan’s attorney, Terence Kindlon. Bryan "fully accepted responsibility" and "acknowledged what he did was wrong and criminal," Kindlon said.
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 4.
Following his arraignment, Bryan decided to plead guilty at the first of a series of scheduled conferences, said Heather Orth, spokeswoman for the Albany County District Attorneys Office. He pleaded guilty to the lowest charge, a Class D felony, before the Honorable Stephen W. Herrick.
Bryan, 53, had been charged with three Class C felonies and a Class D felony. A Class C felony is any amount over $50,000; a Class D felony is an amount exceeding $3,000.
"It was unexpected," Orth said of Bryan’s decision at the first conference.
His lawyer was not surprised.
"I had expected that that would probably be the way this case would be resolved," said Bryan’s attorney, Terence Kindlon. "Obviously, there are some cases where a trial makes sense, and there are some cases where a plea makes sense," he said.
Bryan was indicted on Sept. 5. The evening of the 5th, investigators from the district attorneys office and the Albany County Sheriffs Department, the lead agency in the investigation, updated Rensselaerville residents who packed Town Hall.
The crimes were uncovered earlier this year when Investigator Ron Bates with the sheriffs department stumbled upon a suspicious check while conducting another investigation. Investigators did not look into town records dating back to Bryans time in office. He served as town supervisor from 1987 to 1994.
Between April 1, 2003 and April 10, 2007, according to the district attorneys office, Bryan stole:
$148,180.32 from the Rensselaerville Library;
$72,822.58 from the Trinity Church;
$75,050.00 from the Rensselaerville Historical Society; and
$7,450.00 from the Rensselaerville Historical District Association.
Bryan had held positions of trust in each of the organizations.
Employed as a house principal at the Abrookin Vo-Tech Center in Albany, Bryan also stole $33,659.79 from the Albany High School Student Association, according to the district attorneys office.
Bryan will pay restitution for the total amount from all five organizations, said Orth.
Asked why Bryan stole, Kindlon said, "I can only confirm that he did, and he admitted to it, and he pleaded guilty to it."
Bryan has been under a great deal of strain but has conducted himself with dignity and has been "very forthright," said Kindlon.
"If you go from being a person who is in an elevated position in society and are confronted by allegations that you’ve violated the law, and then you plead guilty to those obviously, it’s a pretty significant comedown," Kindlon said.
Asked how Bryan will pay back the more than $300,000 he owes, Kindlon said, some of the money will come from the sale of a business within the last month.
Kindlon would not disclose the name of the business, but said the money from the sale was placed in escrow by the lawyers involved in the sale, and it is being turned over to the sheriffs department and the district attorneys office to be distributed among various creditors.
"After that, obviously, he’ll be in prison, so he won’t be able to do anything concerning restitution," Kindlon said. "In the future, when he’s released from custody, he’ll make arrangements to repay money, probably on a periodic basis."
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