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Press Release

Former Chief And President Of Briarcliff Manor Fire Department Sentenced To 1 Year In Prison For Embezzling More Than $120,000

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that ROBERT GARCIA, the former president and chief of the Briarcliff Manor Fire Department (“BMFD”), was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel to one year and one day in prison for charges arising out of his embezzlement of more than $120,000 from the BMFD.  GARCIA pled guilty before Judge Seibel on July 2, 2018, to one count of embezzlement from a program receiving federal funds.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Robert Garcia lined his pockets with Briarcliff Manor Fire Department and Fire Council money to pay personal expenses, and then lied about it to cover his tracks.  Now Garcia will go to prison for his crime.”

According to documents filed in court, GARCIA was elected to the position of Second Assistant Chief of the BMFD in or about April 2013.  His election to that position also made him an officer of the Briarcliff Manor Fire Council, which oversees the Briarcliff Manor Fire Department.  GARCIA was thereafter elected to different administrative and operational positions within the BMFD, including first assistant chief, chief, treasurer and president.  As a result, GARCIA was also an officer of the Fire Council from in or about April 2013 through in or about April 2017.  GARCIA was given signatory authority over bank accounts held by the Fire Council and the BMFD starting in April 2013.

From in or about May 2013 to in or about March 2017, GARCIA embezzled money from the BMFD and the Fire Council by writing checks drawn on the BMFD's and Fire Council's bank accounts that he made payable to himself.  GARCIA then deposited these checks into his personal bank accounts.  He used the embezzled proceeds to pay personal expenses.  GARCIA covered up his thefts by making material misstatements on written reports he gave to the Fire Council about the purposes and payees of the checks he had written to himself when he acted as the BMFD’s treasurer from in or about 2014 through in or about April 2017.  GARCIA embezzled more than $120,000 from the BMFD and the Fire Council by writing approximately 150 checks to himself.          

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In addition to the prison sentence, GARCIA, 51, of Ossining, New York, was sentenced to two years of supervised release and assessed a $20,000 fine.  GARCIA paid full restitution to the BMFD prior to sentencing. 

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the IRS, FBI, New York State Comptroller, and New York State Police.

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorney James McMahon is in charge of the prosecution.

Updated December 21, 2018

Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 18-460