Caroga highway superintendent arrested

CAROGA — The town highway superintendent was arrested by state police on Monday for allegedly submitting a false claim to the town’s insurance company.

Steve Putnam, 63, of Caroga was charged with fourth-degree insurance fraud, a felony.

According to a state police news release, the arrest is a result of an investigation at the request of the Caroga town board and town attorney.

The investigation revealed that Putnam took damaged parts off of one town truck and put them on another truck. He then submitted a false claim to the town’s insurance company to get the truck repaired.

Town Supervisor James Selmser said one of the trucks was damaged in an accident in 2016, but a claim was never submitted to the town’s insurance company and was never reported to the town board.

Selmser said the hood to the second truck involved was recently damaged, so Putnam allegedly switched the hoods and then submitted the false claim to the town’s insurance to get the damaged truck repaired.

Selmser said it was a town employee who made him and the town board aware of the situation.

“I had a town employee come to me with information and I felt it was questionable, so I brought it before the town board who also felt it was questionable,” Selmser said. “We let our attorney in for advisement and after review, determined it was unlawful.”

He said he made the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office aware of the situation and the investigation went underway.

Selmser said he was made aware of the alleged crime at the end of April.

“We’re just doing our responsibility regarding financial issues of the town,” Selmser said.

Putnam was issued an appearance ticket returnable to Caroga Town Court on Aug. 12 at 7 p.m.

By Patricia Older

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