There has been sweeping changes in the court records service this year in Southold. Measures have been put in place to avoid <rel=”attachment wp-att-1200″=””>a repeat of the misappropriation of fines, bail money and cash totaling $231,000. The theft resulted in a conviction of a long standing court employee. A new role (Justice Court Director) has been created and the post begins January 5. The post oversees court records along with operations and entails reporting to the supervisor as opposed to town justices. The cramped quarters, within the modular unit, have not helped restore order to court records. This modular unit serving as the court’s office which is ancillary to the rear of the town hall. </rel=”attachment>
A host of alterations has already been made to the court records filing system. Other amendments include assignment of various duties to clerks, the process of money handling and court records computers. How the office was previously ran (by Christine Stulsky) and the handling of court records is what allowed large amounts of money to disappear over a number of years. Stulsky (65) had been charged with defrauding the government, grand larceny and official misconduct. This was an embezzlement scheme over 5 years that netted Stulsky $213,000. She was arrested in March 2014 and resigned. She entered a guilty plea in January 2015 and was sentenced in March to 6 months imprisonment and 5 years probation. The plea deal will also ensure she makes full restitution to Southold.
Stulsky has since been released from jail. To date she has repaid $111,904.76. The balance of around $119,000 will be repaid monthly throughout the remaining probation period. The majority of the embezzled funds were bail monies. Stulsky was the one individual who had control over the bail monies. More often than not these deposits were in the form of cash. Instead of depositing the cash in to the relevant bank accounts Stulsky retained the deposits. The previous court records system by it’s nature was open to manipulation. Computer and paper records gave the impression of a correct due process. However bail monies were not returned and deposits never actually made. Forensic investigators and auditors from the attorney’s office of Suffolk County brought the irregularities to light in early 2009. For a full report please follow this link