Judge not convinced by embezzler Bonkoski’s letter of apology

The Enterprise — Michael Koff
Jamie Bonkoski listens to Judge William Carter in Albany County Court Tuesday morning during her sentencing for grand larceny. Bonkoski pleaded guilty earlier to embezzling almost $80,000 from Deer Valley Apartments in Guilderland while she worked for many years as the manager of the complex.

ALBANY COUNTY — “I guess this is technically a letter of apology,” Judge William Carter said to Jamie Bonkoski in Albany County Court Tuesday morning. Bonkoski had pleaded guilty on Oct. 11 to grand larceny, for stealing almost $80,000 over the course of five years from Deer Valley Apartments in Guilderland, where she had worked for 20 years as the manager.

“But it makes no admissions,” the judge continued.

Carter noted that, in an interview for her pre-sentencing report, Bonkoski had said that a young woman had been hired as her assistant before Bonkoski resigned, and that the new assistant had also been stealing.

Bonkoski’s attorney, Joseph Ahearn, asked for a sentence of five years’ probation, and Assistant District Attorney Michael Wetmore had said that would be acceptable.

But, Carter said, because Bonkoski’s letter did not admit any wrongdoing, he did not feel that a sentence with no incarceration would be appropriate.

Carter sentenced Bonkoski, 42, of Cohoes, to six months of incarceration and five years’ probation. She will serve her time in Albany County’s jail.

Ahearn asked if Bonkoski could be granted a later surrender date, because she has sole custody of her young child.

The judge set Jan. 4, 2019 as the surrender date.

Ahearn and Judge Carter agreed that a check for full restitution had been issued on Friday.

However, Frankie Gray, chief operations officer of InterSouth Management, which had been Bonkoski’s employer, told The Enterprise on Tuesday, “We have not received her money!”

Ahearn told The Enterprise on Tuesday afternoon, "I forwarded on escrow check directly to the complainant. I mailed it Friday, and they're in South Carolina, so they'll get it any day now."

Bonkoski signed a number of papers, and the judge noted that she had indicated she plans to appeal.

Later, outside the courtroom, Bonkoski declined to comment.

Ahearn said, “Obviously, Jamie’s disappointed. The important point is the victim was made whole.” He continued, “She’s going to use this to get on with her life after this.”

Bonkoski had worked as the manager of the apartment complex off Johnston Road for 20 years. Her supervisor, Gray, told The Enterprise earlier that the forensic investigation had covered just five years.

Gray said Bonkoski had charged more rent than was due and kept the difference, used the company credit card to buy items to furnish a number of houses and apartments that she purchased for her work as a real-estate agent, and also had an arrangement with a tenant who was a personal trainer to accept his services in lieu of rent.

According to Cecilia Walsh, spokeswoman for the Albany County District Attorney's Office, Bonkoski also forged tenants’ signatures, opened bank accounts without authorization, and falsified business records.

Gray told The Enterprise earlier that she hoped Bonkoski would receive a sentence of a year or two in prison.


More Guilderland News