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Former Sherman treasurer charged in theft

Ann Gilbert, the former treasurer for the village of Sherman, is facing a felony charge for the alleged theft of more than $20,000 in cash paid by residents from 2012 to 2016 for village sewer, water and taxes.

The third-degree grand larceny charge was announced Thursday following an investigation by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt and the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office.

Gilbert, 54, currently resides in Florida.

“Ms. Gilbert allegedly betrayed her neighbors by pocketing tax payments to pay her personal expenses,” DiNapoli said. “I thank District Attorney Schmidt and the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office for partnering with my office to hold her accountable.”

“This is not a victimless crime,” Schmidt said. “The village of Sherman, like many of our local municipalities here in Chautauqua County, is engaged in an every-day battle to service its residents with precious little money. Every dollar stolen is a dollar not spent on the community. No one should use their public office for personal gain.”

Gilbert allegedly embezzled village funds to pay for her personal utility bills and purchases from QVC, Dollar General, Walmart, Amazon and Pampered Chef. To conceal her crimes, DiNapoli said she stopped recording cash village tax payments and, instead, pocketed the money.

After Sherman Mayor Colleen Meeder discovered Gilbert’s actions, she reported them to the state comptroller and the district attorney who commenced an investigation. Gilbert was the village treasurer from June 2007 until August 2016.

On April 22, the state Comptroller’s Office released an audit detailing financial mismanagement of cash receipts and making recommendations for improved internal controls. Those recommendations included:

¯ Take appropriate action to recover the missing funds.

¯ Develop written policies and establish procedures over the cash receipt collection process.

¯ Provide adequate oversight and annually audit the treasurer’s reports and records.

Gilbert was arrested Thursday pending arraignment in Chautauqua County Court before Judge Marilyn Gerace.

The arrest was a result of a joint investigation between the State Comptroller’s Office, the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office and the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office.

This is the second arrest of a village employee in the county in the last two years. Jennifer Jaeger, former Bemus Point village clerk, was arrested in February 2021 for the alleged theft of more than $60,000 in village money. Jaeger had issued checks to herself without village board approval for payments that weren’t supported.

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