Stulsky, a former Southold Town court employee charged with stealing $230,000 in fines, bail money and other revenue from Southold Town court coffers pleaded guilty in January to grand larceny during a court conference in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead, according to District Attorney Thomas Spota.
Stulsky, 65, of New Suffolk, was sentenced by State Supreme Court Justice John Collins, a new judge on the case, to six months in the county jail and five years’ probation with drug and alcohol conditions. Stulsky is required to pay the stolen funds back, Spota said.
“Christine is remorseful and accepts responsibility for her actions,” Stulsky’s attorney Lane Bubka said, reading a written statement to SoutholdLOCAL prepared by his client. “She deeply regrets how this has affected the justices of the court, her co-workers, the town board, and all the residents of Southold Town. Christine is forever grateful for the help of her family and friends, who have supported her through this and made it possible for her to pay back every dollar taken.”
His client, Bubka said, has, in her life, “helped a tremendous amount of people. This is a case of circumstance that just got out of hand.”
Had she not taken the plea deal, Bubka said, and been indicted, Stulsky would have faced five to 15 years in prison. Instead, she will do four of the six months at a Suffolk County Correctional Facility. “That was part of the consideration, knowing she will be local and close to family,” he said.
Her family accompanied Stulksky to court.
“We are relieved that this issue has come to an end,” Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said last month. “We look forward to implementing new policies and procedures to ensure that acts like these don’t ever take place again.”
Stulsky, who’d worked for the town since 1980 resigned as a senior justice court clerk at the time of her arrest last March. Her duties included the collection and deposit of fines and bail funds and reconciling court bank accounts. The investigation found that the thefts began in January, 2009.
Last March, Stulsky surrendered and was arraigned at Suffolk County criminal court, initially pleading not guilty to felony charges after an assistant district attorney said she stole “in excess of” $50,000 in bail and other fees from Town Hall to buy groceries, pet food, and cigarettes.
According to Spota, Stulsky, who was employed with Southold Town for 34 years before the town board accepted her resignation, was “suspected of stealing bail and other monies she was entrusted with.”
Prosecutor Melisa Bliss said Stulsky, who appeared in court in March dressed in a black sweater and leggings, was charged with one count of grand larceny in the second degree, a felony, one count of defrauding the government, a felony and one count of official misconduct, a misdemeanor.
Judge James Hudson set bail at $5,000 cash and $10,000 bond; Stulsky had a bail bondman at the arraignment.
In October, months after Stulsky was arrested and charged with grand larceny after she allegedly stole bail money and other fees from Southold Town Hall, defendants were still waiting to get that bail money back.
Stulsky worked for Justice Rudy Bruer for many years before she surrendered.