The Oneida County Independence Party Chairman has pleaded guilty to stealing almost $60,000 of his party's donations.
John Dote admitted to using the money for personal use. Dote pleaded guilty to ten counts, six of them being felonies and four of them misdemeanors. Those charges range from grand larceny to money laundering.
In exchange for his guilty plea, he will serve six months in jail as well as five years probation. During that time he is ordered not to be involved in politics of any kind.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Bauer says they had to balance various factors in this case.
"We have to deal with the reality that if he was sent off to prison he might be out in a couple of years. There would be nothing to stop him from being in the same type of business and take over the party and doing what he wished. He has to pay all that money back. All that money the people donated that they wanted to see for the good of the party and help support their candidates that will come back to the party. They can finally do what they intended," said Bauer.
Speculations of Dote stealing money started when the D.A.'s office received a complaint from a member of the Independence Party.
Dote is due back in Oneida County Court on December 12th when he will be sentenced.