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Former Gouverneur mayor sentenced to concurrent prison term in Jefferson County

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WATERTOWN — A former Gouverneur mayor already heading to state prison out of St. Lawrence County Court for swindling two people in a real estate deal was sentenced Friday in Jefferson County Court to a concurrent prison term for possessing a stolen credit card here.

Christopher A. Miller, 32, was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison after pleading guilty March 7 to fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. 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 was sentenced as a second felony offender, having been convicted of cocaine possession in North Carolina in 2004.

Before sentencing was pronounced by Judge Kim H. Martusewicz, a tearful Mr. Miller apologized for his actions.

“I’m very, very sorry,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of stupid mistakes in my life. I understand that I’ve hurt people, I’ve hurt myself and I’ve hurt my family. I’m just very sorry.”

Mr. Miller was sentenced Thursday in St. Lawrence County to 2 to 4 years in prison and ordered to pay about $35,000 in total restitution after pleading guilty Jan. 16 to fourth-degree grand larceny.

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.

St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome J. Richards made Mr. Miller immediately eligible to serve his sentence in the prison system’s shock incarceration program.

If he successfully completes the six-month military-style treatment program, he will serve the remainder of his sentence under parole supervision. Judge Martusewicz said he had no opposition to Mr. Miller serving the concurrent Jefferson County sentence in the program.

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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