Ex-KPD detective Maurice Vandemark leaves the Ulster County Courthouse Thursday. (Photo by Dan Barton)

A former Kingston Police detective has been charged with ripping off taxpayers by filing for and accepting reimbursement from the department for college courses which he did not complete.

Maurice Vandemark walked into Ulster County Court on Thursday, Aug. 18 to hear charges contained in a sealed indictment handed up by an Ulster County grand jury last month. Accompanied by his attorney, Jeremiah Flaherty, Vandemark sat calmly before visiting County Court Judge Charles Tailleur during a brief hearing. Vandemark is charged with felony counts of grand larceny, criminal possession of a forged instrument, offering a false instrument for filing and misdemeanor official misconduct.

According to District Attorney Holley Carnright, the charges stem from a 2006 incident in which Vandemark put in for and got about $4,200 in reimbursement through the department’s educational assistance program for online courses taken through Union Institute. Carnright said that Vandemark did not complete any coursework and did not pay Union Institute for the classes. He submitted forged transcripts to claim reimbursement.

The alleged fraud was uncovered during an audit of Kingston Police Department financial records by the state Comptroller’s Office. The audit began in February following allegations that former KPD Detective Lt. Tim Matthews had falsified time sheets and stolen money in a long-running theft scheme. Matthews is currently free on bail while awaiting trial on 13 felony charges.

At Thursday’s hearing, Vandemark pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. Assistant District Attorney Lauren Swan requested $5,000 bail noting the Vandemark currently resides in West Palm Beach Florida. Flaherty responded that his client had willingly returned to Ulster County and surrendered to Ulster County Undersheriff Frank Faluotico when advised of the court proceeding. Flaherty also noted that Vandemark still maintains a residence in Ulster County and had spent 23 years working in Ulster County law enforcement. Tailleur agreed that Vandemark did not pose a flight risk and released him without bail.

Vandemark declined to comment about the case. Flaherty, however, predicted that the case would be resolved with “an amicable solution.”

Vandemark retired in 2008 after serving 21 years with the Kingston Police Department. Prior to that, he spent two years with the Town of Ulster Police.