Man pleads guilty to $800K fraud

ALBANY — State officials say an Albany-area contractor has pleaded guilty to scamming hundreds of thousands of dollars out of minority-owned businesses and failing to pay dozens of his employees.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood says Friday that 47-year-old Michael Martin, of Latham, pleaded guilty in county courts in Schenectady and Albany to grand larceny and scheme to defraud.

Authorities say Martin ran an elaborate scheme that fraudulently obtained construction contracts for public projects while failing to pay more than $400,000 in wages to employees of Eastern Building and Restoration, his now-defunct Albany-based contracting business.

Officials say part of the scheme involved stealing the identity of two minority-owned businesses.

Martin faces up to 12 years in state prison and must pay $800,000 to the victims.

Charges against Martin’s alleged partner in the scheme are pending.

GoFundMe makes hub for limo crash beneficiaries

ALBANY — New York’s attorney general is working with GoFundMe to ensure all donations related to the limousine crash that killed 20 people go to the intended beneficiaries.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood says Friday the online fundraising site has established a centralized hub for all verified campaigns related to last Saturday’s crash in rural Schoharie (skoh-HAYR’-ee).

Daniel Gordon, GoFundMe’s vice president of trust, policy and communications, says the site is working with all parties to ensure the money goes directly to the surviving family members listed.

As of Friday, the site says more than 6,000 donors have pledged more than $353,000 to 12 campaigns for crash victims’ families. The money is intended for funeral costs, future support and college costs for the victims’ young children in addition to other family expenses.

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