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Pitcairn audit: charges possible

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PITCAIRN — A draft audit by the state Comptroller's Office could lead to criminal charges against Susan M. Smith, Harrisville, that she misused more than $35,000 when she was Pitcairn town supervisor in 2008 and 2009.

Investigators are looking into whether Ms. Smith used her position as the former manager of Community Bank in Harrisville, the official bank of the town, to misappropriate the money.

Among the allegations in the audit are that Ms. Smith wrote 13 unauthorized payroll checks to herself for more than $11,000, that there were other checks totaling nearly $21,000 written by her to the bank without the knowledge of the town board, and that she wrote $3,400 in checks to vendors who told auditors they did not receive payment even though the checks were cashed.

Ms. Smith told auditors some checks were issued by mistake and were returned to town accounts.

Ms. Smith, the daughter of St. Lawrence County Legislator Frederick S. Morrill, D-DeKalb Junction, declined comment.

Mr. Morrill said he knew little about the accusations.

"There's not much to say about it," he said. "I really don't know much about it."

Town board members said they were told by Supervisor Richard Atkinson, who did not return a call, not to comment on the draft audit.

"I have been told as board members we are not allowed to reveal anything," Mary J. Manchester said.

Council member Nancy J. McIntosh said the situation sickened her.

"I've known Susan for years and I know her family," she said. "I always thought Susan was very trustworthy."

Mrs. McIntosh was a member of the board for part of the time Ms. Smith was supervisor.

"She seemed to have a lot of trouble with the computer program, or so she claimed," Mrs. McIntosh said.

"She gave us a monthly supervisor's report which we knew wasn't right. She said they weren't right."

In retrospect, Mrs. McIntosh said the board should have recognized there was a conflict with the town having Community as its bank while Ms. Smith was manager there.

"We're taking measures so this can't take place again," she said.

A meeting is in the works for the Town Council to discuss the situation with District Attorney Nicole M. Duvé, who did not return a call for comment.

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