City of Buffalo Employee Sentenced for Stealing Thousands of Dollars from Parking Meters
BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Francis Tronolone, 33, of Buffalo, N.Y., who was convicted of stealing thousands of dollars from the City of Buffalo, a Governmental agency which receives federal funding, was sentenced to six months in prison by U.S. District Judge, Richard J. Arcara. The defendant has also been ordered to pay $9,000 in restitution.
“As we have stated previously, this office intends to prosecute any public official responsible for stealing money or breaching their public trust,” said U.S. Attorney William Hochul. “This marks the fourth defendant who from a single government agency did just that.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Maura K. O’Donnell, who handled the case, stated that the defendant was employed by the City of Buffalo for approximately 10 years. During that time, the defendant held various positions within the Department of Parking Enforcement, including parking meter collector and parking meter mechanic. In this capacity, Tronolone was responsible for collecting coins deposited into parking meters and repairing malfunctioning meters.
During the period of his employment, the defendant stole approximately $9,000 in coins from city parking meters, money that was supposed to be deposited into the City treasury. Some of the money was stolen from parking meters that had been rigged by other parking meter mechanics. Tronolone kept a small cooler in the back of his vehicle where he would conceal the stolen coins.
In 2011, the City of Buffalo’s Department of Parking Enforcement initiated a review of parking meters after suspecting that quarters were being stolen from the meters. That review and subsequent investigation by the City of Buffalo and the FBI revealed that hundreds of thousands of dollars had been stolen from the City by multiple employees.
Tronolone is the third employee of the Department of Parking Enforcement to be sentenced in this case. James Bagarozzo was convicted of stealing over $200,000 from Buffalo parking meters and sentenced to 30 months in prison on August 16, 2013. Bagarozzo was also ordered to pay $210,000 in restitution. Lawrence Charles has also been convicted of stealing over $10,000 from Buffalo parking meters and was sentenced to six months and prison and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution. A fourth employee, Franklin Lopez, pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from the City of Buffalo, and will be sentenced on October 16, 2014.
The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda.