September 8, 2013

Town of Champlain employee charged with grand larceny

Champlain highway worker allegedly stole department funds


---- — CHAMPLAIN — A Champlain Highway Department employee has been charged with grand larceny for using $3,563.48 in town funds to pay for gasoline for his own personal use, police said.

Benjamin W. Hough, 37, was charged Aug. 31 with third-degree grand larceny, a felony.

State Police gave him the opportunity to turn himself in to troopers at the Chazy barracks, and he was arrested there at 9:50 a.m. that day, State Police Troop B Public Information Officer Trooper Jennifer Fleishman said Friday.

Hough allegedly used taxpayer dollars to buy gas between Dec. 10, 2012, and Aug. 13 of this year. She said Hough likely filled the tank of his personal vehicle with the stolen fuel, but that information could not be confirmed Friday.


Town Councilor John Cooper reported the matter to police on Aug. 22 after a discrepancy in town records was discovered, Fleishman said.

“We certainly are taking a look at our policies and how things get by us, so to speak. It’s complicated,” said Champlain Town Supervisor Larry Barcomb.

The town has no gasoline pumps on premises, he said, but rather an account at a local gas station where municipal vehicles are taken to fuel up.

Hough, employed by the town for less than three years, Barcomb said, “is not working for us any longer.”

The supervisor couldn’t discuss the case further since the investigation is ongoing, he said.

After his arrest, Hough was released on an appearance ticket to be arraigned in Champlain Town Court on Thursday, Fleishman said.

The court could not be reached Friday for the status of Hough’s case.

Email Felicia Krieg:fkrieg@pressrepublican.comTwitter: @FeliciaKrieg