Updated 10:35pm UTICA/ROME -- Oneida County Independence Party chairman and former radio host John Dote has reportedly pleaded guilty on charges that he stole nearly $60,000 in political donations to pay for personal expenses. As punishment, he'll reportedly spend six months in jail and he'll be forced to give up his involvement with politics.
That's according to the Utica Observer-Dispatch, which reports Dote had faced a total of 27 charges, including grand larceny and falsifying business records which were submitted to state and county boards of elections. The newspaper says the embezzlement took place between 2005 and 2010.
Dote, 59, was the host of Behind the Headlines on WIBX earlier in the decade. The hour-long weekday show launched in January 2003 and was replaced in March 2004 by First Look, a show which remains on WIBX's schedule to this day.
The Utica O-D reports Dote will be sentenced in December. Along with the jail time and his removal from political activity, Dote will remain on probation for five years.
Added 10:35pm: The Oneida County District Attorney's Office has posted the following press release on its Facebook page:
John E. Dote, Chairman of the Independence Party of Oneida County, entered pleas of guilty to ten (10) counts in three separate indictments charging him with several felony and misdemeanor offenses that were the culmination of a year-long investigation into allegations of political corruption and embezzlement of party funds.
Dote entered pleas of guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree; Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree; Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, Perjury in the First Degree; Money Laundering in the Third Degree; Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree; Unlawful Use of Campaign Funds; Failure to Account to Party Treasurer; Tampering With Physical Evidence and Criminal Impersonation in the Second Degree for falsely identifying himself to be a police officer.
When he is sentenced on December 12, 2011 in Oneida County Court before the Hon. Donald Cerio, Dote will be facing a sentence of six (6) months in Oneida County Jail and Five (5) years of probation. He will be required to pay restitution to the Independence Party in the amount of $ 59,908.00.
This case was investigated by Chief Investigator James Helmer of the Oneida County District Attorney's Office's Investigations Bureau, and prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Robert L. Bauer, Todd C. Carville and Bernard L. Hyman. The New York State Police, New York State Office of Tax Enforcement and New York State Board of Elections also assisted in the investigation.