Our speaker this morning was Suffolk District Attorney, Tom Spota. Mr Spota began by stating that his most important contemporary duties are involved with terror attack prevention. An audience member mentioned that there were Middle Eastern men taking parachuting lessons on the east end. Mr Spota acknowledged that fact but declined to discuss it further.
A while back DA Spota created a street gang unit and gave us some insights on how sophisticated some of these gang leaders were. He told us of a gang leader that was in his 40’s and was using his illegal gains to buy real estate. All of which Mr Spota seized when an arrest was made.
As important as those two items of law prosecution are the item that resonated with the audience more than others were the government corruption cases. White collar crime is not dismissible to Spota just because it is "an insurance company" or the "government" that is taking the hit. It is important crime because it challenges the trust we place in the system we live in.
Tom told of a school superintendent that was being paid $340,000, was issued a car and credit card to pay car expenses, plus a $700/ month car allowance. In addition to that he was getting a $40,000/ year guaranteed annuity. He then wrote himself a check from the payroll account for another 168,000. The following week he wrote another check from the same account for 178,000. Nobody in the school district picked up on any of this. This grand theft was discovered after his office made a routine investigation. This was a particularly egregious case, but Spota said they found many other troubling mishandling of funds in other districts.
He then discussed identity theft and computer fraud. In these cases the amount of the theft was enormous compared to armed robbery and violent crime, but the more troubling aspect of these thefts were that in the large majority of cases the money was transferred overseas to countries that are hostile to America.
Pictured: Bill Miller, Suffolk District Attorney Tom Spota and Ernie Fazio