By CHRIS GRAMUGLIA
Village of Mamaroneck Code Enforcement Officer Victor Ciraco was recently charged with grand larceny in the third degree and insurance fraud in the third degree, both felonies.
Ciraco, 42, who was hired as the code enforcement officer earlier this year, was suspended with pay by the village until he is found guilty of the charges being brought against him.
The position of code enforcement officer was created by the village to accompany the fire inspector’s role in hopes that it would allow the building inspector to focus more on issuing permits and land use matters. As code enforcement officer, Ciraco was responsible for handling building code and fire inspections, and worked closely with newly appointed Building Inspector Bill Gerety.
Ciraco was hired as the code enforcement officer shortly after Gerey was hired as the village’s permanent building inspector, marking an end to a period of staff instability in the village’s Building Department.
Ciraco appeared before village Justice Daniel Gallagher on Tuesday July 23, but was officially arraigned in the Town of Harrison before Town Justice Nelson E. Canter due to Gallagher’s decision to recuse himself from the case.
Gallagher recused himself because both he and Ciraco are employees of the village, and Gallagher has already arraigned Ciraco on three separate occasions. Gallagher declined to comment further on the case.
Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, said that a judge has the right to recuse him or herself from a case at their own discretion.
“Because it is the local court, any judge for any reason that might be a conflict of interest could recuse himself,” Rosenblum said. “It doesn’t change the arraignment, the prosecution is by the DA.”
Assistant Village Manager Dan Sarnoff said that he could not discuss the official position of the village regarding the matter.
“[Ciraco] has been charged with a felony and it is going to the legal process. Judge Gallagher recused himself from the case because he [Ciraco] appears quite often,” Sarnoff said.
According to police reports obtained by The Sound and Town Report, Detective Charles Lanza discovered that Ciraco had been committing fraud between October 2011 and February 2013. Ciraco is alleged to have submitted false insurance reimbursement claims to the New York Government Employees Health Insurance Program that totaled $6,727—well over the $3,000 value specified in New York State law. Grand larceny, as defined in the police report, is committed when an individual wrongfully takes or withholds property with a value of over $3,000.
The grand larceny charge against Ciraco is for the taking of the actual funds, whereas the insurance fraud charge references the falsified claims.
After his arraignment in Harrison, Ciraco was released on his own recognizance after agreeing to appear again in the Mamaroneck Village court on Aug. 15.