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Former Dataflow Employee Pleads Guilty to Stealing Nearly $1 Million

February 15, 2011
BINGHAMTON, NY—Feb. 15, 2011—Dataflow Inc. (www.goDataflow.com), with offices in eight Upstate New York communities, announced that former employee Brian Steele entered a guilty plea in the Broome County Court to the charges of grand larceny and forgery on Monday. Steele admitted to stealing from the family-owned company nearly $1 million, making this one of the largest such cases in Broome County history. Steele was taken to the Broome County jail to begin serving what is expected to be a prison sentence of four to 12 years.

“Brian worked for us for over 10 years. We considered him part of our family. He was everybody’s best friend at the office and, superficially at least, appeared to be an upstanding citizen—he was a Rotarian and held board positions at the library and community college. We trusted him, and he coldheartedly used that trust to enrich himself dishonestly at the expense of our company and our employees,” said Dataflow partner Dan Zimmerman.

Dataflow, a 53-year-old privately owned digital printing and document management firm, has managed to weather the financial fallout of Steele’s theft through careful and often painful financial stewardship, said Julie McCormick, a family member and partner in the business. “Since the fraud was uncovered in early 2010, we have been working night and day to negotiate with vendors and restructure our financing. It has not been easy, but we’ve survived the storm.”

McCormick is credited with rebuilding the company’s accounting department and is now directly overseeing the accounting functions from its Rochester office. “Thankfully, we have a solid working relationship with our bankers at M&T, as well as with our key vendors who sympathized with our predicament and extended favorable terms. I will forever remember those that extended a hand to us, and do as much business as possible with them going forward,” said McCormick.

In the opinion of Zimmerman, Steele’s guilty plea “is a fitting end to a year-long saga. But the full effect of the crime is hard to calculate, because it affected the business on many different levels. As our bookkeeper, he was able to bury his theft in ways that indicated mismanagement or poor performance on the part of his co-workers. To exact this level of deceit is unconscionable.”
 

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