Buffalo, NY – NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Special Prosecutor Patricia E. Gunning announced the unsealing of a 201 count indictment charging a Williamsville woman with forging 67 documents related to investigations of abuse and neglect of vulnerable New Yorkers. She is additionally charged with filing those forgeries with the state in her role as Director of Quality Improvement for Baker Victory Services, Inc. in the City of Lackawanna. Her arrest was the result of a Justice Center investigation, which is ongoing.

Kristin Hauser (DOB: 11/4/61) of Williamsville was arraigned before the Honorable Erie County Court Judge Michael Pietruszka on the following charges:

  • 67 counts of Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D Felony;
  • 67 counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E Felony; and
  • 67 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E Felony.

The Justice Center found that investigative reports regarding allegations of abuse and neglect contained falsified statements and witness signatures, including those of employees and people receiving services. These individuals were not aware that their names had been signed and had not consented to having them signed. Hauser, who was employed at Baker Victory Services for 27 years, and responsible for approving and filing incident reports, is alleged to have created the forged documents herself. She allegedly submitted the falsified reports to the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) and NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), which license Baker Victory Services, and into Baker Victory’s own business records. The Justice Center, OMH and OPWDD rely on the accuracy of such records when investigating allegations of abuse and neglect and making determinations on whether the underlying incidents should be substantiated. The charges stem from conduct alleged to have occurred between 2014 and 2016, related to 28 cases of abuse and neglect.

“The actions of this defendant as charged in the indictment go to the heart of the work of the Justice Center. The State Legislature, in passing the Protection of People with Special Needs Act, made clear that New York State viewed credible and reliable investigations of abuse and neglect of vulnerable persons as a priority. For a defendant who was responsible for ensuring the quality of those investigations to allegedly forge dozens of documents to be relied upon not just by the Justice Center but also by the Office of Mental Health and the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, and filing those forgeries with the state undermines the work of everyone involved in the investigations of abuse and neglect. This conduct, which may have affected numerous investigations, must be accounted for.”

Special Prosecutor Gunning added that the Justice Center is working closely with the staff at Baker Victory, OMH and OPWDD, and is re-investigating cases, as necessary, to ensure that all investigative findings relying on falsified documents are correct.  Gunning thanked the Erie County District Attorney's office for their assistance.

Justice Center Supervising Assistant Special Prosecutor Jennifer Whitman is prosecuting this case, which is being investigated by Justice Center investigators Lorrie Alvarez, Andrew Gerken, Anthony Fistola, Chris DiPronio and Supervising Investigator Kelly O’Connor.

The defendant, who has resigned from her position, posted $20,000 bond and will return to court at a later date. She faces 2-1/3 to 7 years’ incarceration for each forgery.

About the Justice Center

The Justice Center began operations on June 30, 2013. It operates a toll-free hotline that receives reports of allegations of abuse, neglect and significant incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Anyone who witnesses or suspects the abuse or neglect of a person with special needs can make a report. Mandated reporters who have reasonable cause to suspect that a reportable incident has occurred by staff must report it to the Justice Center immediately upon discovery.  The Justice Center is not a first responder so if a report involves an emergency situation, the caller is instructed to hang up and dial 9-1-1.

The Justice Center is authorized to investigate all reports of abuse and neglect, pursue administrative sanctions against staff found responsible for misconduct and its Special Prosecutor/Inspector General shares jurisdiction with local district attorneys to prosecute criminal offense allegations. The Justice Center notifies local district attorneys of all potential criminal cases.

Justice Center Individual and Family Support advocates provide guidance and information to victims, their families, personal representatives and guardians about the reporting and investigation process, offer support during criminal court proceedings and are available to accompany victims during interviews and court appearances.

Editor’s note: In compliance with Rule 3.6(b)(6) of the Rules of Professional Conduct, you are advised that a charge is an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 11, 2017

Contact: Bill Reynolds 518-549-0200