FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 14, 2018
Former District Manager Indicted for Allegedly Forging Signature of Community Board Chairman to Give Himself Unauthorized Raises
Defendant Allegedly Stole $38,345 in Salary to Which He Was Not Entitled
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Department of Investigation of Commissioner Mark G. Peters, today announced that the former District Manager of Community Board 6, which includes Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, and Park Slope, was arraigned today on a 17-count indictment in which he is charged with forgery and other charges for forging signatures on four occasions to give himself raises without approval or authorization.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly sought to enrich himself with taxpayer money to which he was not entitled. This was a betrayal of the public trust that cannot be tolerated. I remain committed to rooting out crimes such as this that can carry a heavy cost over the long term. We will now seek to hold this defendant accountable.”
Commissioner Peters said, “This defendant gave himself multiple raises, including a merit increase, and falsified his manager’s authorization to get them approved by the City, according to the charges. New Yorkers expect – and deserve – public servants serving their communities with integrity that is beyond reproach. DOI will continue to pursue those City workers criminally who take advantage of taxpayers and steal City funds. We thank our partners at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for their collaboration on this investigation.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Craig Hammerman, 53, of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with four counts of second-degree forgery, four counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, four counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, four counts of first-degree falsifying business records and one count of third-degree grand larceny. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of the top count. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on August 8, 2018.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, between May 2015 and October 2017, the defendant, who was the District Manager of Community Board 6 (CB 6), allegedly forged the signature of Community Board Chairman Sayar Lonial three times and forged the signature of former Community Board Chairman Gary Reilly one time to give himself unauthorized raises.
The forgery was discovered by CB 6 during an internal investigation in September 2017, and the matter was referred to the Department of Investigation. A subsequent investigation by DOI and the DA’s office revealed a series of forged letters authorizing salary increases. A letter dated October 2016, which was sent to the office of the Brooklyn Borough President, authorized a raise for Hammerman and contained Lonial’s forged signature. A second letter dated March 2017 was sent to the Office of Management and Budget authorizing a salary increase for Hammerman and contained Lonial’s forged signature. This document was accompanied by supporting documentation, referred to as a Planned Action Report, which also contained Lonial’s forged signature. A third letter was discovered, dated May 2015, which authorized a raise for Hammerman and contained the signature of Gary Reilly, who was, at the time, the Chairman of CB 6. A representative of the Brooklyn Borough President’s office, which processes salary increases for CB 6 employees, calculated that Hammerman received $38,345 in salary that he was not entitled to as a result of his alleged fraud.
Hammerman’s salary was $121,931 when he resigned in October 2017.
The case was investigated by Special Investigator Beatriz Solorzano, of the New York City Department of Investigation, under the supervision of Inspector General Andrew Sein, Associate Commissioner Andrew Brunsden, Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Investigations Susan Lambiase, and First Deputy Commissioner Lesley Brovner.
The District Attorney thanked the Office of Borough President Eric L. Adams for its cooperation in this investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Sara Walshe, of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Chief of the Public Integrity Unit, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Mark Feldman, Senior Executive Assistant for Crime Strategies and Investigations.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.