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Feds probing former Suffolk correction officer

Federal prosecutors are investigating former Suffolk correction officer

Federal prosecutors are investigating former Suffolk correction officer Steven Compitello, who has been charged with falsifying his time cards, as part of a broader probe into activities at the county jail, Compitello's attorney said. The Suffolk County Jail in Riverhead is see here on Feb, 2, 2006. Photo Credit: Newsday / Daniel Goodrich

Federal prosecutors are investigating former Suffolk correction officer Steven Compitello, who has been charged with falsifying his time cards, as part of a broader probe into activities at the county jail, Compitello's attorney said.

Thomas Spreer of Babylon said Friday that Compitello is negotiating with the U.S. attorney's office and the FBI.

Spreer said that from what federal officials have told him, "it appears to me they're investigating many matters at the Suffolk jail. As part of that broad brush, they've taken an active interest in this case as well."

Compitello, an Islip Conservative Party committeeman until this year, was among sheriff's officers whom Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco investigated for allegedly charging the county for hours they didn't work.

That inquiry included correction Lt. Edward Walsh, also chairman of the Suffolk County Conservative Party.

The Suffolk County district attorney's office filed charges against Compitello, 53, of Bohemia, in April. That case is pending in District Court. It was adjourned Friday until Feb. 7 by Judge William Ford.

Compitello was arrested on one count of third-degree grand larceny, a felony, a day after he resigned his sheriff's job. He pleaded not guilty.

Spreer said Compitello is cooperating with federal authorities, "in the sense he's being honest and forthright as to the issues that pertain to him."

Spreer said that, "the best I can tell, from my investigation," the federal probe of Compitello "appears to be an isolated matter and not part of other matters the federal government is investigating."

The U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District declined to comment Friday. Spota spokesman Robert Clifford did not respond to a request for comment, and DeMarco declined to comment.

A federal grand jury investigation into Walsh broadened in September to examine possible political corruption in Suffolk County, according to several sources familiar with the situation.

The federal investigation began in May when DeMarco turned over records to the FBI indicating Walsh may have been collecting salary for time he did not work.

Walsh's attorney, William Wexler, expressed surprise that the U.S. attorney is investigating Compitello's case.

"I have no idea why the feds would be doing that. It's rare," said Wexler. District Attorney Thomas Spota "is fully capable and competent of prosecuting a time clock case," Wexler said.

Compitello is accused of collecting wages for hours he didn't work from Sept. 15, 2011, to April 3, 2014, according to state court records. Besides his correction's job, Compitello also was appointed to a position of call-in/security guard for the Connetquot school district on Sept. 14, 2011, according to civil service records.

In 2013, Compitello made a total of $225,974 in his sheriff's job. That included $84,936 in overtime, more than all but 15 other county employees, according to county payroll records. It was unclear how much he made from his school district job.

Spreer said Compitello is accused of fraudulently billing between $20,000 and $30,000.

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