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Investigation of New York State Department of …-nys doccs central office

State of New York
Offices of the Inspector General
Investigation of New York State Department of
Corrections and Community Supervision
Office of Special Investigations
Evidence Integrity and
Former Senior Investigator Todd Johnson
July 2019
Letizia Tagliafierro
Inspector General
STAFF FOR THIS INVESTIGATION AND REPORT
SPENCER FREEDMAN
Executive Deputy Inspector General
MICHELE HOST
Chief Counsel
JAMES R. DAVIS
Deputy Inspector General
GEORGE FRANY III
Investigative Counsel
SHERRY AMAREL
Chief Investigator
DANIEL WALSH
Deputy Chief Investigator
JOHN JURS JR.
Investigator
DENNIS GRAVES
Director of Audit
ELEANORE RUSSOMANNO
Investigative Auditor
JONATHAN MASTERS
Director of Investigative Reporting
and Senior Investigative Counsel
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
On February 12, 2019, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community
Supervision's (DOCCS) Office of Special Investigations (OSI) alleged to the New York State
Inspector General that in January 2019, Todd Johnson, a senior investigator in OSI's Narcotics
Investigations Division, falsified the chain of custody written on an evidence bag he transferred
from OSI's Clinton field office in Dannemora, New York, to OSI's central office in Albany,
New York.
The Inspector General's investigation found that Johnson took possession of an evidence
bag at OSI's Clinton field office on Friday, January 25, 2019, maintained the evidence at his
residence over the weekend contrary to OSI policy, and then transferred the evidence to a
subordinate on Monday, January 28, 2019. Additionally, the investigation found that Johnson
failed to record the date he took possession of the evidence on the written chain of custody and
then directed a subordinate to forge the chain of custody written on the evidence bag to make it
appear that Johnson took possession of the evidence bag on Monday, January 28, 2019, the same
day the subordinate transported it to Albany. Johnson testified to the Inspector General, admitted
to this wrongdoing, and retired from DOCCS.
Given this finding of misconduct by Johnson, the Inspector General audited all evidence
transferred by Johnson to OSI's central office from January 2017 through January 2019. This
audit found two other occasions on which there were inconsistencies between the written chain
of custody on the evidence bags transferred by Johnson and Johnson's activity and travel logs,
swipe card access records, and the testimony of witnesses. On these two other occasions,
Johnson transferred a total of 98 evidence bags. The Inspector General concluded from this audit
that Johnson likely falsified or directed the falsification of the written chain of custody on the 98
evidence bags.
The Inspector General also found that Johnson falsified entries on his activity and travel
logs when he purportedly transferred evidence on three occasions. Notably, the investigation
found no indications that the evidence bags had been tampered with by Johnson or others while
being transported to Albany.
The Inspector General has referred these findings to the Office of the Albany County
District Attorney for its review.
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