BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A former New York State Parks employee admitted Monday to stealing thousands of dollars in wages from his employer, New York Inspector General officials announced.

Kevin Cottrell, 62, of Niagara Falls pleaded guilty to one count of petit larceny after submitting fraudulent time sheets to obtain unearned wages, officials said.

Cottrell, while working as an NYS Parks employee, began running a private guided tour company while claiming to work for the state. Following an investigation by the Inspector General’s office, it was determined that Cottrell, between September 2016 and February 2020, indicated at least 148 times on timesheets that he had worked a full day as an NYS Parks employee but had instead spent a portion of the workday in Canada.

Officials said Cottrell was not in a position to perform his state work in Canada. Upon confrontation, Cottrell admitted to knowingly submitting inaccurate time sheets and to “conducting personal business, both in the United States and in Canada,” while on state time. Cottrell fraudulently obtained over $8,000 in NYS wages as a result of the illegal conduct.

As part of the guilty plea, Cottrell will pay $8,539.39 in restitution to NYS. He is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on Dec. 4.

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Emily Miller is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2022. See more of her work here.