Couple pleads guilty to illegally pocketing prison TV fees

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities say a western New York couple who sold satellite television contracts to state prisons illegally pocketed $375,000 that should have gone to DirecTV.

New York state Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott announced Friday that Richard and Christine Wertman of Lockport in Niagara County have pleaded guilty to grand larceny in connection with the scheme.

Investigators say the couple signed contracts to provide DirecTV service to three state prisons and then used their technical skills to provide the service. But the couple never notified California-based DirecTV or passed along the company’s cut of the proceeds.

Scott said the couple’s actions showed “stunning gall.”

As part of a plea deal, the Wertmans agreed to repay the $375,000. Reached by phone Friday, Christine Wertman declined to comment.

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