Editor's note: Decker's relationship with the state Department of State was clarified.
QUEENSBURY — The former director of Lake George Watershed Coalition was arrested Wednesday on 17 additional felony charges that accuse him of stealing $99,000 in state funds through payments to a shell company he created, court records show.
David J. Decker, 67, of Burnt Hills, was charged with felony counts of grand larceny, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing for each of four allegedly fraudulent payments in 2012 to a company known as Empire State Materials & Supply Co.
An additional count of scheme to defraud was filed that covered all four transactions together.
Authorities believe Decker created the company and it did not provide materials as described in invoices he submitted to the town of Queensbury. Instead, authorities say, the money was funneled to Decker’s personal accounts after he submitted false payment vouchers for four different payments between June 2012 and October 2012.
He is accused of receiving four fraudulent payments of between $10,500 and $35,175.
He had claimed the company provided soil for the “West Brook Stormwater Initiative,” the manmade wetland on the former Gaslight Village amusement park site in Lake George, court records show. The money he received came from state Environmental Protection Fund grants.
These allegations come in addition to charges filed in March that accuse Decker of stealing $69,156 in federal grant funding that was earmarked for a different Lake George watershed project. He faces felony counts of grand larceny, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing in that transaction.
Warren County Sheriff Bud York said the investigation was continuing and more charges were possible.
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“We are continuing to review more paperwork,” he said. “We will probably finish up the charges through the grand jury.”
A Warren County grand jury review of the case was scheduled to begin this month.
Travis Whitehead, the Queensbury engineer whose complaint to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office started the criminal investigation, said records show that Decker created Empire State Materials & Supply Co., and its address was a post office box in Glenville. Its name appears to have been spelled and phrased several different ways in the payment documents that were filed.
Decker was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Queensbury Town Court and released on his own recognizance. Court officials said he was represented by the Warren County Public Defender’s Office, but he had been arraigned during earlier proceedings by lawyer Joseph Brennan. Brennan could not be reached Wednesday afternoon.
Decker, a professional engineer, was director of the coalition of municipalities and environmental groups and oversaw grants for environmental projects for 16 years. The police investigation started after Warren County Treasurer Michael Swan last year questioned delayed state reimbursement for some Decker-related projects that dated back several years.
The state Department of State and town officials in the towns that oversaw the grants were supposed to have been reviewing the documentation. Decker, who worked from an office in Lake George village hall, oversaw grants through the towns of Queensbury, Lake George and Bolton and village of Lake George.
He was terminated from his $111,000-a-year position after his arrest in March.
The grand larceny counts are each punishable by up to 7 years in state prison.