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Embezzler of $75,000 gets prison

By Matt Gryta
December 12, 2009, 7:10 AM /

The longtime bookkeeper of Niagara Frontier Publications was ordered Friday to begin serving up to four years in prison for stealing more than $ 75,000 in company funds.

Jack C. Bates was taken into custody after Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk said he doubted Bates, 42, would be able to come up with the $ 60,407 he still owes the 17-employee Grand Island business. Bates showed up in court with a certified check for $15,000 his father loaned him to begin restitution.

“I made a mistake,” Bates, a Youngstown resident, said to those in the courtroom, including Skip Manzenauer, publisher of Niagara Frontier Publications.

Both the Erie County Probation Department and Bates’ lawyer, Frank Bogulski, urged probation so Bates could continue to work and repay his former employer.

Franczyk denounced Bates for having “fleeced [the business] in the most brazen and cavalier way,” thefts that occurred over the course of a decade.

“Some people steal for need, you stole for greed,” the judge told Bates, who was fired last January, after an audit disclosed the embezzlements, which caused financial distress for the business.

Bates pleaded guilty Sept. 11 to second-degree grand larceny and was sentenced to 1x to four years in prison.

Niagara Frontier Publications, headquartered on Whitehaven Road, publishes the Island Dispatch, Lewiston Porter Sentinel, Niagara Wheatfield Tribune and Grand Island PennySaver.