A Mount Sinai contractor was arraigned Thursday in Suffolk County District Court on charges that he fleeced more than $6,000 from Brookhaven Town by falsifying claim vouchers while upgrading the town’s vehicle fueling systems.
Robert Heinrich, 65, was charged with third-degree grand larceny and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, the Suffolk County district attorney’s office said in a news release. The release did not indicate whether Heinrich entered a plea.
He faces up to 2 ⅓ to 7 years in prison if convicted on the grand larceny charge, prosecutors said.
Suffolk County District Court Judge Gaetan B. Lozito released Heinrich without bail and ordered him to return to court Dec. 3, the district attorney’s office said.
Heinrich could not be reached for comment. The district attorney’s statement did not say whether Heinrich was represented by an attorney.
Heinrich, chief executive of Heinrich Equipment Co., which had a contract to upgrade fueling systems for Brookhaven, submitted two separate claim vouchers in 2017 and 2018 that falsely sought a total of $6,647.58 in reimbursements for renting a dump truck and temporary fencing, the district attorney’s office said. Prosecutors found the equipment either was owned by the company or had not been used in the town project, according to the district attorney’s office.
Brookhaven terminated its most recent contract with Heinrich, who had held several, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, over at least five years, town spokesman Jack Krieger said.
In a statement, Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini said: “This is another example of someone trying to swindle the hardworking taxpayers of Suffolk County for their own gain. Thanks to the vigilance of the Town of Brookhaven, as well as the hard work of our investigators and prosecutors, [Heinrich] will be held accountable for his alleged theft of public funds.”
Krieger said town investigators discovered the alleged theft and contacted the district attorney’s office.
Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine, in a statement released by Sini’s office, thanked prosecutors for working with town investigators.
“Let this be a warning to anyone who attempts to steal money from the Brookhaven taxpayers,” Romaine said. “It will not be tolerated and you will be arrested, charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
By Carl MacGowan