From: Greegor on

> BALLSTON SPA, NY - A special prosecutor has been assigned to the case
> against a Saratoga County man who allegedly provided court-ordered
> evaluations without adequate education.
> The Saratoga County District Attorney's office on Monday announced
> that Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie would handle the
> case against Steven B. Feldman.
> Feldman was arrested by State Police on June 4 for allegedly using
> false credentials to get certified as a mental health counselor in the
> state and get contracts with Saratoga County to provide court-ordered
> evaluations.
> Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy said the special
> prosecutor was sought because Feldman's attorney is planning to call
> county officials and judges to testify on his client's behalf.
> Murphy is not on the witness list, but his relationship with the
> judges and other county officials, he said, bars him from prosecuting
> the case.
> Feldman, 60, of Saratoga Springs, is facing four felony charges,
> including offering a false instrument for filing, scheming to defraud,
> falsifying business records and felony grand larceny.
> Police say he used credentials from Hamilton University, described as
> a degree mill, in order to get accredited by the state and work with
> the county.
> Feldman, who has a practice in Ballston Spa, has received contract
> work from the county since at least 2006.
> He is scheduled to appear in Ballston Spa Village Court at 4 p.m.
> Monday.

> BALLSTON SPA, NY -- A Saratoga Springs man who is registered with the
> state as a mental health counselor and was under contract with
> Saratoga County to provide court-ordered evaluations is facing charges
> that he falsified his credentials.
> Steven B. Feldman, 60, was arrested by New York State Police last week
> following an investigation that authorities say shows he
> misrepresented his education in order to gain state certification and
> provide court recommendations.
> Police said their investigation began in late April when a resident
> who had a case before the Saratoga County Family Court in October 2009
> brought forward information about Feldman, with whom the resident was
> dissatisfied.
> Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy said on Monday the
> investigation showed Feldman had listed a degree from an institution
> called Hamilton University, which Murphy described as a "degree mill,"
> and that another diploma from a different institution was also under
> investigation.
> Feldman's activities rose to the criminal level because he was
> allegedly representing himself as a trained professional - and
> receiving money based on that claim - when he is not, Murphy said.
> "His misrepresentations are really frauds upon the government, the
> judge, the public defender and the people he evaluated," Murphy said.
> "This would be like taking your car to a mechanic, and you find out
> he's not a mechanic and he knows nothing about car mechanics."
> Murphy said he believes the evidence will show that Feldman knew the
> degree he obtained was not legitimate and that he was deliberately
> misrepresenting his educational background.
> Feldman, who has a practice in Ballston Spa, faces felony charges of
> offering a false instrument for filing, scheming to defraud and
> falsifying business records. He is also charged with felony grand
> larceny, a charge that alleges he stole more than $3,000 from the
> county.
> Police have issued an appearance ticket in the case, and Feldman is
> scheduled to appear in Ballston Spa Village Court on June 14.
> When reached at his office, Feldman declined to comment about the case
> and referred all questions to his attorney, John Pastore, who did not
> return a call seeking comment.
> County officials have contracted with Feldman since at least 2006 to
> provide court-ordered evaluations in instances where individuals could
> not pay for the services themselves. The costs of such evaluations are
> typically charged to the individual being evaluated.
> Last year, Feldman received more than $10,000 for services rendered to
> the county.
> County Administrator David Wickerham said Feldman is still under
> contract with the county, but the county is "not making any more
> payments until this gets sorted out."
> If Feldman is ultimately found guilty, the county would likely seek
> restitution, Wickerham said.
> "I'd like to see where this goes, but obviously if there is fraud
> involved we'll seek restitution," he said. "We're going to do whatever
> we have to to protect the taxpayers."
> Wickerham also defended the county's use of Feldman, saying they
> obtained his name from a list of state-certified examiners.
> Feldman was certified by the New York State Department of Education as
> a mental health counselor in May 2006, and the certification was set
> to expire in July 2011, according to state records.
> To receive certification, an applicant must obtain a master's degree
> or higher degree in counseling or its equivalent, complete a state
> exam and register at least 3,000 hours of clinical experience,
> according to the Department of Education.
> Jane Briggs, a spokeswoman for the department, would not say whether
> the agency is reviewing Feldman's certification in light of the
> allegations.
> If the arrest results in a conviction, however, a review committee
> would consider whether to revoke Feldman's certification, she said.
> How Feldman's arrest will impact the outcome of cases in which he
> offered a recommendation remains unclear. State and local officials
> said it was unclear how many cases Feldman may have been involved in,
> and whether those cases will be reviewed as a result of the charges.
> The investigation, however, continues.
> District Attorney Murphy said two additional complaints have been
> received since Feldman's arrest, and that additional charges could be
> filed.
> "Right now, our intent is to get him into the court system, look at
> how much alleged damage has been done and to try to hold him
> responsible for his alleged conduct," Murphy said. "Ultimately, this
> is about ensuring those people who had to go see him and deal with his
> recommendations to the court, which often time served as the basis for
> visitation and custody, are beyond reproach."
> Posted in Local on Monday, June 7, 2010 5:39 pm Updated: 9:26 am