Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen announces that Debra I. Powers, (dob 07/26/59) of Troy, New York plead guilty on January 19, 2024 to one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a Class “D” Felony, in violation of New York State Penal Law Section 155.35(1) and one count of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a Class “E” Felony, in violation of New York State Tax Law Section 1803 before Saratoga County Court Judge James A. Murphy, III.
Defendant Powers admitted to Judge Murphy that while employed at Cascades, Inc., located in Waterford, New York, she unlawfully used a company issued credit card to make purchases to benefit herself. The aggregate value of Powers’ purchases over five years amounted to $548,993.00. The results of an investigation by Cascades, Inc., Harter Secrest & Emery, LLP and the Financial Crimes Unit of the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit revealed that the defendant concealed the larceny by claiming the charges were for legitimate business purposes and to cover up her theft, submitted fake, modified or incomplete receipts.
The Defendant also admitted during her plea colloquy that the purchases she made using the company credit card for her personal benefit resulted in her receiving income that she failed to report on her New York State tax returns. An investigation by New York State Department of Taxation and Finance determined that by failing to report such income, she avoided paying $35,552 in taxes and is now liable for that amount and an additional amount in penalties and interest.
It is anticipated at sentencing on April 19, 2024, Defendant Powers will be sentenced to an indeterminate term of incarceration, with a minimum of 2 1/3 years to a maximum of 7 years in a state correctional facility regarding the Grand Larceny in the Third Degree conviction. She will also receive a sentence of one year incarceration for her conviction of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree. It is expected that those sentences will run concurrently. As part of the plea agreement, she will also be ordered to pay restitution to Cascades, Inc. Additionally, Powers will execute a Closing Agreement with the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance which memorializes that she also owes restitution for taxes evaded, as well as an additional amount in penalties and interest.
District Attorney Heggen noted, “This was a crime of greed, opportunity and brazen actions by Debra Powers who put her interests above those of her employer. Her systematic deception to cover up her long-term larcenous acts for personal gain have resulted in the significant consequences she will face at sentencing.” Heggen praised the dedication and substantial efforts of her Crimes Against Revenue Prosecutors Assistant District Attorneys Andreanna Diliberto and Anna Besson, whose work and expertise in complex financial crimes brought about the convictions in this case. Heggen noted this case is also the result of the thorough, collaborative and meticulous efforts of the members of the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit— particularly the Financial Crimes Unit and NYS Department of Taxation and Finance Criminal Investigations Division, including Associate Attorney Sarah J. Leszczynski.