BATAVIA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Robert E. Alexander, the former judge for the Village of Corfu in Genesee County, and his daughter, Brandi Watts, were both arrested and indicted Wednesday on charges related to a scheme that prosecutors say defrauded taxpayers.
In all, Watts is charged with 53 counts of first degree offering a false instrument for filing for producing falsified timesheets between June 2009 and August 2011 that prosecutors say exaggerated the number of hours she worked. The 32-year-old is also facing two counts of third degree grand larceny and one count of fourth degree grand larceny for allegedly stealing around $14,000 and five counts of first degree tampering with public records.
She was fired by the village board in 2011 when it was discovered that under state law, she was too close of a relation to work as a court clerk for her father.
After her arrest and indictment Wednesday, she was taken to the Genesee County Jail on $10,000 bail.
Alexander is charged with two counts of second degree coercion, which according to the indictment is due to the judge threatening his replacement court clerk to prevent her from taking action that would implicate his daughter in wrongdoing. The 67-year-old is also charged with one count of official misconduct.
"My reaction was surprise because he has such a high reputation in this town," Andrea Miller said. "I was very shocked by what I heard about what happened."
Alexander is a retired corrections officer who worked at Attica and is involved in several civic organizations. He's also an ordained minister who's written a book about Christian faith and appeared on the 700 Club.
He has been released on his own recognizance. Though Alexander is no longer the judge in Corfu, he remains the judge for Pembroke Town Court.
News 4 requested mug shots of both Watts and Alexander and were told by State Police their was a "glitch" in the computer system in Albany and the mug shots were lost. Troopers said they would have to re-take them.
A state audit uncovered the missing money and further investigation determined Watts had allegedly lied on her timesheets.
The Wyoming County District Attorney has been named special prosecutor in the case against Watts and Alexander.
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