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Corruption in Roslyn Long Island: Andrew Miller, Auditor, is Charged With Covering Up $11 Million Theft
Mr. Miller was arraigned yesterday on charges that he tampered with evidence by changing business records in an effort to help conceal the theft of more than $11 million, according to Denis Dillon, the Nassau County district attorney.
September 9, 2005
Auditor for Schools in Roslyn Is Charged

MINEOLA, N.Y. , Sept. 8 - It was a tantalizing mystery in the sprawling Roslyn schools scandal: Who entered the district's office late at night on Feb. 25, 2004, and changed accounting entries on a computer, apparently to cover up the theft of millions of dollars by district officials?

The late-night tampering took place just days after word leaked out that the authorities had opened an investigation into the district's finances. Only a handful of people would have been able to log into the computer, according to authorities, but only Wednesday did they name their suspect: Andrew Miller, the independent auditor of the district.

Mr. Miller was arraigned yesterday on charges that he tampered with evidence by changing business records in an effort to help conceal the theft of more than $11 million, according to Denis Dillon, the Nassau County district attorney.

Mr. Miller, 56, a partner in the dissolved accounting firm of Miller, Lilly & Pearce, was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday on 26 criminal counts, including tampering with public records, falsifying business records and tampering with evidence.

Mr. Miller, whose firm audited the finances of more than 50 Long Island school districts, pleaded not guilty yesterday before Judge Jerald Carter and was released on his own recognizance.

He faces up to seven years in prison on each of 3 charges and up to four years each on the other 23.

Mr. Miller is the fifth person to be indicted in connection with the scandal that has resulted in a statewide changes in the way school finances are audited.

Frank A. Tassone Jr., the district superintendent, is accused of stealing more than $2 million; Pamela C. Gluckin, the assistant superintendent, is accused of taking $4 million; and her niece, Debra Rigano, a former school accounting clerk, about $780,000.

They are accused of spending the money on artwork, jewelry, foreign trips, meals, entertainment, home furnishings and home mortgages.

Stephen Signorelli, who was Mr. Tassone's longtime roommate and a former vendor for the district, was accused of padding invoices.

In early 2004, investigators received a tip that something might be amiss with the district's finances. Less than two weeks after the district attorney's office opened an investigation, Mr. Tassone asked Mr. Miller to falsify records, the district attorney said.

"At a certain point Tassone became concerned that someone was going to catch this and he called Miller in and said 'Let's clean this up,' and he cleaned it up," Mr. Dillon said.

Entering the district's office late that night, Mr. Miller altered accounting records to cover up personal expenses charged to the district by Mr. Tassone and Ms. Gluckin, Mr. Dillon said.

He said that Mr. Miller, one of the owners of a company that sold the district financial software, then provided the falsified records to investigators who were examining the missing money at the schools in March 2004. Mr. Miller also provided some of the same documents to State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi during his audit of the school district, Mr. Dillon said.

Dressed in a sport coat and tie, Mr. Miller pursed his lips and winced at reporters' questions as he was brought to court in handcuffs yesterday, but he declined to comment.

"We're confident that the credible evidence will establish that many others had access to those records as well as a motive to change them," said his lawyer, William Petrillo. Mr. Miller continues to practice accounting, Mr. Petrillo said.

Peter Mancuso, the assistant district attorney who headed the investigation, said, "The reputation and the future business and future existence of the accounting firm was dependent on their conduct and what the public perceived of their conduct in auditing the Roslyn school district over the years."

In January, Mr. Hevesi released an audit that described the work performed by Miller, Lilly & Pearce as "so appallingly inadequate that it would shock anyone associated with the auditing profession."

He added that fraud at the district "was so pervasive that it would have taken significant effort not to uncover it. Even a rudimentary review of disbursements and canceled checks would have revealed many instances of wrongdoing."

The firm lost so much business after the release of Mr. Hevesi's report that it folded.

Michelle O'Donnell contributed reporting for this article.

The Roslyn School Scandal: Audit Points to Accountants, Miller, Lilly & Pearce

Roslyn, Long Island's Culture of 'Permissive Spending'

Four Long Island, New York ,School Districts are Targeted For Audits by State Comptroller Alan Hevesi

Roslyn's Corruption Has Long-Term Effect on Long Island and the US

© 2003 The E-Accountability Foundation