Officials: Chief collected retirement money while on the job

NEWBURGH - A Newburgh fire chief is accused of collecting retirement money while he was working.

A federal indictment handed down Wednesday in White Plains Federal Court alleges City of Newburgh Fire Chief Michael Vatter knowingly collected $95,000 in state retirement money, even though he is still at work.

Vatter has been with the department for decades. He left in 2000, but came back in 2009.  Officials allege he's been double-dipping since then.

The indictment claims Vatter knew he had a "duty" to report his re-employment, but never did.  Assistant Chief Terry Ahlers, who's now overseeing the department, says the accusations come as a shock.

“Chief Vatter has been off on sick leave for a week, and we really don't know much about what's going on," says Ahlers.

City Manager Michael Ciaravino said Wednesday that he knew of the investigation since 2014, and that Vatter's resignation is "fully expected."

He told News 12 by phone that he was too upset to talk.  His attorney said the 57-year-old plans to enter a not guilty plea.

Vatter is currently on paid leave.


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