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Former Gouverneur mayor, already facing prison, admits having stolen credit card in Watertown

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WATERTOWN - A former Gouverneur mayor already facing up to four years in state prison out of St. Lawrence County Court for swindling two people in a real estate deal now faces up to three concurrent years in prison out of Jefferson County Court after admitting Friday he possessed a stolen credit card in Watertown.

Christopher A. Miller, 32, of 33 S. Gordon St., Gouverneur, pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a felony. He admitted that on July 6 he possessed a credit card stolen from Cody Durham with the intention of using it to benefit himself. Court documents did not contain additional information.

Mr. Miller is to be sentenced April 4 in Jefferson County to 1 to 3 years in prison, according to a contemplated sentence outlined in court. He also will be ordered to pay restitution in an amount still to be determined.

By then, sentencing in St. Lawrence County Court, Canton, scheduled for April 1 on a fourth-degree grand larceny conviction, for which he faces up to four years in prison and upwards of $35,000 in restitution, should have occurred and the Jefferson County sentence would be pronounced to run at the same time.

In April 2012, Mr. Miller sold a home at 31 Edith St., Gouverneur, to Ronald and Heather Sliter for $50,000. The land contract was fraudulent because he failed to mention he co-owned the property with Dylan T. Liebenow, who did not approve the transaction.

According to court documents, Mr. Miller accepted $10,840 from Mr. and Mrs. Sliter. The couple also invested approximately $11,000 in the home and upon discovering he was not the sole owner of the property, they vacated the premises and demanded their money back.

The plea deal in that matter, which reduced Mr. Miller’s original charge of third-degree grand larceny, also satisfied two uncharged crimes that included a real estate transaction he brokered without a real estate license for property he did not technically own. He sold properties at 18 and 24 South St., Gouverneur, to Kyle J. Travis for $85,000. He had purchased the apartment houses from Mark E. Hendrick, who held a $110,000 mortgage on them and had started foreclosure proceedings before Mr. Miller sold them to Mr. Travis.

Mr. Miller collected $14,000 from the deal, according to a cash deposit listed in his 2012 bankruptcy filing.

Mr. Miller was elected Gouverneur mayor in fall 2011 and served for less than a year before resigning in August 2012, six days before he was arrested.

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