The following announcement appeared late this morning on the Facebook page of the Columbia County District Attorney's Office:
D.A. CZAJKA ANNOUNCES SENTENCING
Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka announced Monday, July 19, 2021, that Hon. Richard Koweek sentenced defendant Peter Volkmann following his conviction by plea by Grand Larceny and Official Misconduct.
On Feb. 11, Mr. Volkmann, 57, of Stuyvesant, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree Grand Larceny, a class E felony, and Official Misconduct, a class A misdemeanor. On that date, Judge Koweek ordered Mr. Volkmann to pay a total of $92,829 in restitution to the Village of Chatham and the State of New York Retirement System prior to his sentencing. By his conviction, Mr. Volkmann automatically forfeited his public office.
On Monday, Judge Koweek sentenced Mr. Volkmann to two-year conditional discharge for the fourth-degree Grand Larceny conviction and a one-year conditional discharge with 200 hours of community service for the Official Misconduct conviction.
Mr. Volkmann, while serving as Police Chief of the Village of Chatham and earlier as Police Chief of the Town of Stockport, engaged in a scheme to steal from the New York State Retirement System, padding his pension with $74,222 in public funds. Mr. Volkmann hid public-source income from 19 municipalities and school districts in excess of the statutory limit by funneling the earnings through a private business, PF Volkmann & Associates. He also engaged in a scheme to submit false mileage vouchers and other reimbursements to the Village of Chatham, defrauding taxpayers to the tune of $18,607. . . .
"Mr. Volkmann stole funds from the citizens he was sworn to protect and serve as police chief of the Village of Chatham," District Attorney Paul Czajka said. "In doing so, he undermined much of the good he did in providing assistance to so many suffering from addiction. With his conviction before Judge Koweek, those funds were returned in full to the Village of Chatham and the New York State Retirement System. I thank and commend the New York State Police, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and their highly trained and proficient investigators for bringing this complex case to a successful resolution."
|Photo: Lance Wheeler|
Volkmann was celebrated for creating the Chatham Cares 4 U Initiative, a substance addiction program that gained national attention. He was the Democrats' candidate for Columbia County Sheriff in 2017. In January 2020, Mayor Kamal Johnson appointed Volkmann to be the Police Commissioner for Hudson. Volkmann resigned as commissioner in September 2020, after an investigation into his department's financial records was initiated in Chatham.