BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A former city official who stole from taxpayers will not be going to prison.
Tim Wanamaker, Buffalo's former head of strategic economic planning, was sentenced to three years probation on Tuesday. He will also have to pay HUD $27,702 that he used for his own personal expenses on a City of Buffalo credit card.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says Wanamaker was spared prison time because he gave federal investigators information about the lack of controls at Buffalo City Hall and how money intended to help the poor could potentially be misappropriated.
RELATED | Read the plea agreement here
U.S. Attorney's Criminal Division Chief Joseph Guerra said, "He did cooperate with the government and he has lost a career in public service that he'll never have again."
Before sentencing, Wanamaker told Federal Judge Richard Arcara, "I'm not going to make excuses. It's my responsibility. I plan to continue to help communities rebuild. I don't know how, but I will do that."
Wanamaker's attorney James Harrington said, "He's horribly sorry. This has eaten at him long before he was even charged."
Buffalo lawmakers will now have more oversight in the way federal dollars flow through City Hall.
Common Council President Rich Fontana said, "The mayor will also have a say, of course, and the Council and the Comptroller, working together on all HUD funding."
City Comptroller Mark Schroeder is gathering information on all city departments and how money is handled and spent. He is also banning the use of city credit cards from everyone accept the mayor.
"Nobody should have a credit card. I don't have a credit card. I have to travel. I have to go to New York City to visit with the rating agencies. I have to go to Albany. I have my own personal credit card, and then if there's a reimbursement, there's a reimbursement process," Schroeder said.
Since being kicked out of public office, Wanamaker has stocked shelves in a K-Mart and is now selling cars online. His marriage almost fell apart, and he vowed to make sure his young daughter learns from his mistakes.
Because of Buffalo's problems with HUD money, $26 million has been put on hold for the city.
A man who was wrongly convicted of second degree murder in 2009 has been set free after spending four years in prison.
Investigators are trying to determine who dumped a dog on the side of the road inside a zipped up Coors Light thermal bag.
A man once featured on the Cattaraugus County Top 10 Most Wanted List has pleaded guilty after being extradited from Indiana.
New research shows three popular methods of quitting smoking do not increase risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Sergio Rodriguez announced Tuesday that he intends to run for the Buffalo School Board. He plans to run for one of three seats that will be up for election in May.
Children are making their wish lists for Santa Claus while consumer groups are making their own lists for parents.