A former court clerk in the Wyoming County Town of Castile now admits she stole $36,741 while still in her position.
Katherine Ryan, 45, of Castile pleaded guilty to third degree grand larceny, first degree tampering with public records and official misconduct.
The investigation into Ryan began in December 2013 when the Town Supervisor noticed irregularities on a judge’s court bank account. The Town Supervisor brought the information to the DA’s Office, who in turn brought it to the State Inspector General.
Auditors reviewed physical and computer records from the town. There were more than 200 files that showed there was an outstanding debt related to a court case. A judge in the Town of Perry had to send out request letters to all of the outstanding debt cases to determine whether or not the people involved had paid.
In the end, auditors say they found Ryan was taking the money from court cases and not marking them as paid from between January 2009 until December 2013. She also deleted 17 cases that had been paid and kept the money.
Ryan is the girlfriend of Town of Castile Judge Ron Carmichael’s son. They all live together, along with Judge Carmichael’s wife, at a home on North Main Street in Castile. Judge Carmichael is the judge who hired Ryan as a court clerk.
Officers went to the judge’s home to search for missing court files and say they found more than 60 marijuana plants, drug paraphernalia and small amounts of methamphetamine on the second floor of the home where Ryan and her boyfriend stay.
She was originally charged in July with unlawfully growing cannabis and seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Those charges were wrapped up into her plea deal.
However, her boyfriend, Scott Carmichael, pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in Perry Town Court.
Though neither Judge Carmichael or his wife are charged in the case, he submitted his resignation, effective July 31, to the Castile Town Supervisor. Judges are responsible for the actions of their clerks and are meant to provide checks and balances. The matter will still be referred to the Judicial Conduct Commission.
Ryan faces a maximum sentence of two-and-a-third to seven years in prison when she is sentenced in May.
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