A former New York Power Authority landscape contractor was arrested after, prosecutors said, he forged more than $200,000 in checks, including some made to look as though they came from the power authority.

Nicholas Analitis, 35, of Brentwood, was charged with two counts of third-degree grand larceny and seven counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, authorities said.

He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Thursday in Nassau District Court in Hempstead and is due back in court Friday. He faces up to 7 years in prison if convicted.

Analitis has been in jail since Sept. 20 on charges of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and third-degree grand larceny.

Acting New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice worked together in the investigation.

"Stealing funds from the state and taxpayers will not be tolerated. Any individual engaging in such activity will be vigorously pursued," Scott said.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The inspector general launched the investigation after NYPA officials said Analitis had tried to cash three forged NYPA checks, totaling more than $122,000, at various financial institutions. Prosecutors said he also forged more than $84,000 in checks from private companies he had worked with, and used someone else's credit card to buy more than $4,900 worth of jewelry.

"When con artists try to scam the taxpayers, they should know that they are going to get caught and pay a heavy price," Rice said.

Analitis operated the Prestige Builder & Management Llc landscaping business. In 2010, NYPA contracted with Prestige for more than $140,000 in sidewalk repairs and landscaping services at one facility. NYPA terminated the contract in 2011 for poor performance.

Investigators believe that Analitis used a check NYPA had paid him as a template to create forged checks.Analitis was arraigned before Douglas J. Lerose in Nassau District Court and remanded.