Former UB staff member escapes jail time for $14,000 funding theft

Posted at 10:51 AM, Dec 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-06 12:56:28-05

Andrea Costantino served as the Director of Campus Life at the University at Buffalo and she previously pleaded guiltyto stealing $14,000 from university accounts for personal use.

Judge John Michalski did not sentence Costantino to any jail time as was previously suggested. Instead, she received three-year conditional probation. This means if she breaks the law within the three-year period, she could be re-sentenced, which could mean jail time.

She's also required to complete 250 hours of community service through the probation department. At the time of her sentence hearing, she had already paid in full $14,000 in restitution. 

The New York State Inspector General's Office released this statement:

“Today’s sentencing closed one chapter of a sordid scheme against taxpayers and required the defendant pay back every penny she stole. Both of these former top administrators selfishly violated the trust of the public and the students they served,” said Inspector General Leahy Scott.  “My investigation into the policies and practices in place at the SUNY Buffalo campus is continuing, and I am working closely with SUNY Central Administration in Albany to help ensure such schemes can never be repeated. I thank District Attorney Flynn and his office for prosecuting this matter.”

Costantino's personal use of funds included:

  • $4,200 of state funds to purchase a treadmill
  • Using her state credit card to charge airfare and four nights in Kissimmee, Florida stating it was for a conference, where no such conference was held
  • Four $300 gift cards to Fleet Feet Sports, purchased on a state credit card
  • $8,000 in state funds to make charitable contributions to an organization affiliated with the Boston Marathon to ensure her entry

Dennis Black, Costantino's supervisor, will appear in court on January 10th, 2018 for sentencing.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated Costantino's charges could be dismissed.