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Bulb Buster: Store Owner Pleads Guilty

Local hardware store owner Thomas Schuman, 45, has pled guilty to falsifying records, after attempting to pilfer tens of thousands of dollars through a rebate program provided by the Long Island Power Authority. 

 

According to officials with the Nassau County District Attorney’s office, Schuman—the owner of the Four Star True Value Variety Store on Main Street in downtown Farmingdale—participated in LIPA’s compact fluorescent light (CFL) coupon rebate program, from 2009 to 2011. The program would allow stores to provide discounts on CFLs ranging from 50 cents to $3 per bulb. Buyers would fill out a rebate coupon for the store to submit to LIPA, and LIPA would then reimburse the store. 

 

Towards the end of 2011, LIPA conducted an audit and discovered that Four Star had submitted 923 fraudulent rebate coupons and was reimbursed $22,240. A subsequent investigation by the DA’s office later revealed that Schuman instructed his employees to fill out the vouchers. Investigators uncovered that Schuman would give his cashiers a daily quota of vouchers to fill and instructed them to use the phone book to find people who lived in the surrounding area and fill out a voucher in his or her name, even though they didn’t purchase a CFL from the store and may never have been a customer of Four Star at all. In the first fiscal quarter of 2011, investigators learned that Four Star was submitting approximately five coupons on behalf of each purported customer and that Four Star submitted 66 percent more rebate coupons than all of the Lowe’s hardware stores on Long Island combined. 

 

In addition, Schuman and Four Star were found to have stolen $19,200 from the utility as a participant in a LIPA-sponsored advertising program that reimbursed merchants that advertised the sale of CFLs. While Schuman did in fact advertise the sale of CFLs in the Long Island Pennysaver or Clipper magazine, the invoices submitted showed Schuman had inflated the actual advertising costs in order to be eligible for a higher rebate. 

 

On Dec. 20, Schuman pled guilty to Offering a False Instrument for Filings in the Second Degree and his corporation pled guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree. 

 

“Thomas Schuman cheated Long Island electricitiy ratepayers with his scam and this sentence will ensure that is neighbors don’t end up footing the bill for his greed,” said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. “I’m grateful for the cooperation of LIPA officials to help us bring this defendant to justice.” 

 

Schuman will pay $35,000 up-front restitution to LIPA and was sentenced to 210 hours of community service and a conditional discharge by Judge Scott Fairgrieve on Dec. 20. He is also paying a $1,000 fine. 


News

Due to what appears to be a colossal error on the part of the Nassau County Assessor’s office, or perhaps an errant interpretation of state law, 1,100 military veterans and Gold Star families in Farmingdale will have to wait for their tax break until next year.

 

The Farmingdale School District is among several local school districts that recently approved resolutions extending the exemption to local veterans, even though budgets and Albany’s tax cap make it a tough choice. Earlier this year, school board trustees uanimously voted to provide a school tax exemption for veterans living in the district, starting with the 2014-15 school year. 

In the aftermath of a fatal carbon monoxide leak at Legal Seafoods in Huntington, the Village of Farmingdale passed new legislation requiring all residential and commercial properties carry a carbon monoxide detector. 

 

“The whole idea behind this is public safety,” said Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand.

 

On April 7, Farmingdale Trustees unanimously voted to amend village code as a proactive measure to prevent future harm from carbon monoxide poisioning.   


Sports

The Farmingdale Devils  U10 Travel Baseball team defeated the West Islip Gold team 11-6 to win the Bayport Bash baseball tournament last weekend. The Devils swept both games on Saturday to advance to the championship game. In the championship The Devils struck for four runs in the first inning. Nick Napolitano and Nick Disanti  started it off with singles and were driven home by Gavin Weinstock’s 200 foot blast off the left field wall. Timmy Purack and Matt Brandimarte followed with run scoring singles and the Devils were on their way to their first title of 2014. Nicholas Napolitano pitched three solid inning for the win. The Devils will now compete in the Half Hollow Invitational Spring Tournament. 

 

— Submitted by The Farmingdale Devils

The Dalers Boys Varsity Lacrosse team (3-2) are putting their best foot forward, after losing two games this season.  

 

On March 25, the Dalers took their home turf to face the Lynbrook Owls. During the game, the Dalers Tom McPartland and Chris Brown each scored two goals, while goalies Matt Deluca and Scott dePalmer racked up a total of 11 saves. Despite the valiant effort, the Dalers lost to Lynbrook High School 11-7. 

 

The Dalers are currently 3-2 this season. Their next game will be held on April 17 at Long Beach. 


Calendar

Women's Club of Farmingdale - April 17

Maundy Thursday - April 17

Good Friday - April 18


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com