A Naugatuck woman is claiming a town official committed tax fraud after she said the check she made out for her taxes was altered.
Erika Crabe still can’t believe that someone inside Naugatuck’s tax office would alter her check.
She has the copy of the altered check and her original bill, which was for $373.70. The receipt she received last Wednesday when she paid it showed the total, $373.70.
But when she balanced her check book over the weekend, she discovered she was off.
"I noticed, the check that I wrote for my car taxes had been altered. The seventy cents had turned into ninety cents. It was very obvious that it had been altered."
Crabe complained and went to Tax Collector Jim Goggin, who admitted he changed her check after a data entry issue.
"Never in a million years when I went to the tax collector’s office and spoke to Jim Goggin, did I expect to it not only be acknowledged, but he himself personally was the one that altered my check,” Crabe said.
When Eyewitness News questioned Goggin on Tuesday, he came clean and offered an apology.
"When her check got put in, it got put in as 90 cents as opposed to 70 cents and for us in the morning when we're balancing, especially in July, I changed the check to 90 cents. She came in, I apologized, gave her back the 20 cents. It’s a mistake I never should have made and I’ll never make it again,” Goggin said.
When Eyewitness News pressed, he had another admission.
" We have on occasions changed within a quarter to make things work. We will never do it again,” Goggin said.
Naugatuck Mayor Pete Hess said Goggin will be disciplined.
"He's clearly wrong, the complaint is completely legitimate. We don't have to investigate it. That's the good news. On the other side of the coin, we will be referring it to discipline to human resources,” Hess said.
Crabe said it’s not the money, after all, it was just 20 cents, but rather its principle.
"That's not okay, he is an elected official, he lobbied for this office, people voted for him and I have zero confidence in him now,” Crabe said. “It could be 20 cents for me but $5 for somebody else, $20 for somebody else, you just don't know."
In addition to disciplinary action, the mayor says the town's auditors will be coming in as well to check everything out in the tax collector’s office.
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