Senate Aide Forges Applicant Release to Prove Resume Fraud
July 21, 2009
According to the New York Times, Indira Noel, the director of intergovernmental relations to New York state senate democrats, forged the signature of an employee on an applicant release form in an effort to discredit him by proving he had lied about his education. As many of you know, a candidate must sign a consent form that allows the employer to conduct a background check. Most academic institutions will not provide education verifications without seeing the executed form. (Check out our study on the acceptance rates of electronic signatures).
How did this person manage to keep her job?
A top State Senate aide pleaded guilty on Friday to disorderly conduct after being accused of forging the signature of an employee she supervised. Prosecutors had said the aide wanted to obtain the employee’s college transcripts in an effort to discredit him by proving he had lied about his academic credentials.
The aide, Indira F. Noel, 44, was charged by the Albany County district attorney’s office with criminal possession of a forged instrument and with offering a false instrument for filing, both misdemeanors that could have sent her to jail for up to a year.
But in a deal reached with prosecutors, Ms. Noel pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct and paid a $250 fine.
Ms. Noel, the director of intergovernmental relations for Senate Democrats, was suspended for two weeks without pay in 2007 when the forgery allegations became public. Democratic leaders said on Friday that she would not face any more punishment.
“When the incident first occurred, disciplinary action was immediately taken,” said Austin Shafran, a spokesman for the Senate president, Malcolm A. Smith. “Now the case has been resolved fully, and we are moving forward,”
In recent months, Ms. Noel had received a pay increase despite the charges pending against her. The $11,000 raise brought her annual salary to $118,000. Mr. Shafran would not say whether Democratic officials were aware that Ms. Noel was involved in plea agreement talks at the time she was granted her raise.
Ms. Noel’s lawyer, E. Stewart Jones, said her guilty plea ended months of negotiations with prosecutors. “The end result speaks for itself,” Mr. Jones said. He said that Ms. Noel had paid her own legal fees.
The case started after the employee, Jean Pierre, a policy analyst for the Senate Democrats, was fired two years ago. He filed a criminal complaint against his boss, Ms. Noel, accusing her of forging his signature to get records from the State University at Buffalo to make a case to fire him.
Mr. Pierre could not be reached on Friday, and his lawyer declined to comment. Mr. Pierre also filed a lawsuit last year against the state for unlawful termination that is continuing.
Ms. Noel started working for the Senate in 2005 when David A. Paterson was the minority leader. Since then, she has become friends with Mr. Paterson, who became governor last year, and his wife, and has joined them in their home to celebrate holidays like Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
Marissa Shorenstein, a spokeswoman for Mr. Paterson, said the governor would not comment on Ms. Noel’s plea, but added that he had not intervened on her behalf.