The former Cooperstown Food Pantry co-director charged with stealing more than $18,000 from the food pantry may be offered a plea bargain, according to court officials at the Otsego County Courthouse on Friday, Aug. 30.
Antoine Bourbon-Parme, also known as Anthony Cazzari, became a co-director of the Cooperstown Food Pantry in 2015, according to unitedwaydo.galaxydigital.com.
He was accused of stealing $18,579.71 from Cooperstown Food Pantry in a series of unauthorized checks deposited into his personal bank account between Oct. 20, 2017, and Jan. 22. Bourbon-Parme was arrested in April and charged with grand larceny in the third degree, a D felony, according to a complaint filed by criminal investigators from the New York state Department of Financial Services.
Bourbon-Parme was arraigned April 3 in the Otsego Town Court and sent to the Otsego County Correctional Facility in lieu of $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond, according to court officials. Written statements from three current and former executives of the food pantry — the only authorized signatories on the account — further alleged Bourbon-Parme forged their signatures on eight checks, which were drawn on the pantry’s account with the Leatherstocking Regional Federal Credit Union.
A plea bargain is being worked out at this point, Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said to The Daily Star on Friday. The plea bargain would include full restitution, meaning Bourbon-Parme will pay back all the money he stole; and likely probation but probably no jail time, Muehl said. He said jail time is unlikely because Bourbon-Parme has no prior criminal history and is agreeing to pay the restitution up front.
E.W. Garo Gozigian, Bourbon-Parme’s attorney, declined to comment on the case.
The case was transferred from the town court to county court because of the seriousness of the crime, Otsego County Court Judge Brian Burns said. Bourbon-Parme consented to be prosecuted by superior court information, meaning his case was presented to the District Attorney rather than a grand jury. Superior court information and an indictment are both written documents that charge someone with a crime, according to nycourts.gov
However, an indictment is issued by a grand jury after it has received evidence establishing that a person has committed a crime. A superior court information skips the grand jury step and is issued by the district attorney. It’s often a faster way to get the process started, an attorney at the Otsego County Courthouse said to The Daily Star on background.
Bourbon-Parme’s next appearance is at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at the Otsego County Courthouse.