A veteran mechanic at Pilgrim Psychiatric Center in West Brentwood was arrested and charged Thursday with unlawfully using a state-issued credit card to purchase $23,000 in personal items including thousands of dollars’ worth of items from a smoke shop, authorities said.
Michael Weinstock, 38, of St. James, was arraigned on two counts of third-degree grand larceny and one count of official misconduct before Suffolk County District Court Judge Gaetan B. Lozito in Central Islip, said a news release issued by state Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro.
Weinstock was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court Nov. 12, according to officials and court records.
“The audacity of this individual in thinking he could get away with spending thousands of taxpayer dollars to buy paraphernalia and other personal items is astounding,” Tagliafierro said in the release. “The Office of Mental Health’s internal checks and balances detected the purchases and the agency immediately notified our office. Our investigation uncovered the details of his blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars and he is now being held accountable for breaching the state’s trust.”
Weinstock’s attorney could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
Officials said Weinstock used a New York State procurement credit card designed for the purchase of items for the facility’s maintenance department to instead buy $23,168 in items unrelated to his work, “including several thousands of taxpayer dollars at a Chicago-based smoke shop carrying ‘tobacco accessories’ including glass pipes, rolling papers, hookahs and high-end glass water pipes that sell for upward of $1,000 apiece.”