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Press Release

Former Mayor Charged with Wire Fraud for Using Campaign Contributions for His Own Personal Benefit

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A former mayor of Dunkirk, New York, was indicted today for engaging in a scheme to defraud his mayoral campaign and supporters by stealing campaign contributions for his personal benefit, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. of the Western District of New York.

Richard L. Frey, 83, of Dunkirk, New York, was charged today in a 13-count indictment with 12 counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to the FBI. 

According to the indictment, from January 2003 through June 2012, Frey allegedly solicited and received several campaign contributions from area businesses and businesspeople and then, instead of depositing the donations into his campaign accounts, either cashed the checks for his personal use or deposited the checks into his personal bank accounts.  The indictment further alleges that Frey concealed the existence of these campaign contributions by not reporting or disclosing them on his campaign disclosure reports, as was required of local candidates for public office.  When asked about the scheme, Frey allegedly provided false information to the FBI.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Buffalo Field Office and the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Edward P. Sullivan of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Rogowski of the Western District of New York.

Updated November 6, 2019

Press Release Number: 15-066