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Former Duane food pantry director charged with scheme to defraud

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DUANE — The former director of the town food pantry has been charged with a felony count of first-degree scheming to defraud for allegedly giving away food meant for the needy to friends and co-workers, according to the Franklin County district attorney.

Lisa M. Laflesh, 52, of 6 Station Road, Owls Head, was arrested Wednesday by Malone village police on the single count, a class E felony that carries a possible punishment of one to four years in state prison, District Attorney Derek Champagne said Friday.

Mr. Champagne said a court document claims Ms. Laflesh defrauded the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York by picking up items belonging to the food pantry at the reserve center in the village of Malone on June 26 and dropping food items off at multiple locations other than the Duane pantry.

“The defendant, on several previous dates, did provide food from the pantry to ineligible people, such as co-workers, family members and friends,” the document alleges.

The value of the food items she distributed to ineligible people on June 26 was in excess of $1,000, the document alleges.

The DA’s office may file more charges against Ms. Laflesh in the near future, pending further investigation of the situation.

“Our investigation is ongoing, and we believe this was not an isolated incident,” Mr. Champagne said.

Ms. Laflesh was issued an appearance ticket for Malone Town Court on Sept. 16.

Mr. Champagne said because of the arrest, Ms. Laflesh was immediately terminated from her position at the pantry.

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