Former Dunkirk festivals director charged in theft of $50,000

OBSERVER Photo Former Festivals and Special Events Coordinator Hector Rosas.

A former director of city festivals has been charged in the pilfering of $50,000.

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt announced the indictment Friday of Hector Rosas, 63, of Silver Creek. “Rosas allegedly used his position to steal donations meant to help Hurricane Maria victims and divert funds meant to benefit his community into his own pockets,” State Comptroller DiNapoli said. “Public service is a privilege and a duty that he is charged with betraying. Thanks to our partnership with District Attorney Schmidt, we have exposed these schemes.”

Rosas, 63, of Silver Creek, was employed since 1984 with the City of Dunkirk as a Water Meter Reader and then Laborer. In 2016, Rosas was promoted to the newly created position of Festivals Coordinator. In that capacity, Rosas ran the city’s summer festival programs through the city’s local development corporation.

“These types of crimes are not victimless,” said District Attorney Schmidt. “Dunkirk City, like many of our local municipalities here in Chautauqua County, is engaged in an everyday battle to service its residents with precious little money. City residents, themselves, and most of us here in Chautauqua County, live paycheck to paycheck. Every dollar stolen is a dollar not spent servicing our community. No one should use their public office for personal gain.”

In 2017, in his role with the city, Rosas oversaw fundraising efforts to aid the people of Puerto Rico in recovering from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria. Rosas collected nearly $15,000 in donations from citizens, schools and civic groups. The investigation revealed that all of these funds were transferred by Rosas from the city’s festivals bank account, which he controlled, to his personal bank account. Although Rosas visited his mother’s home in Puerto Rico and spent some of the funds, he could produce no receipts, nor could he account for the money collected.

As Festivals Coordinator, from the summer of 2016 to the summer of 2019, Rosas was responsible for collecting and depositing cash generated from beer sales at the annual summer festivals. The investigation revealed that over $42,000 in cash sales were collected by Rosas but never reported or deposited in the festivals account.

Hector Rosas is the brother of current Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas.

Rosas was arraigned in Chautauqua County Court before Judge Stephen Cass and is due back in court on June 13.


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