Franklin Lopez, 33, of Buffalo, has pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to stealing thousands of dollars from the city of Buffalo, a governmental agency receiving federal funding.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.
Lopez, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Maura K. O’Donnell, was employed part time as a coin collector for in the city Department of Parking Enforcement between 2002 and 2011, responsible for collecting coins from parking meters.
On Aug. 16, 2011, Buffalo police found more than $1,300 in coins inside the defendant’s work vehicle that was supposed to be deposited into the city treasury. Further investigation, including a review of Lopez’s banking records, revealed a substantial amount of cash deposits and cash payments for a variety of items. Between November 2002 and August 2011, Lopez stole approximately $69,000.
He is the fourth employee of the Department of Parking Enforcement to be convicted in this case. James Bagarozzo was convicted of stealing more than $200,000 and sentenced Aug. 16 to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $210,000 in restitution. Lawrence Charles was convicted of stealing more than $10,000, sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution. Francis Tronolone stole $9,000 and is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 15.
Sentencing for Lopez is scheduled for Oct. 16.