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Ex-Chamber Chief Awaits Fraud Trial

By Denise Richardson, The Daily Star, Oneonta, N.Y.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

March 15--The former president of the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce for an alleged insurance scam is scheduled to go to trial this spring.

Robert "Rob" Robinson was indicted by an Otsego County grand jury in October on second-degree grand larceny, third-degree grand larceny, scheming to defraud and second-degree insurance fraud. He was arraigned in Otsego County Court on Oct. 23 and released, court officials said.

Robinson's trial is set for April 22 with jury selection, with May 12 as a back-up date, officials said. The court's calendar is subject to changes as cases are settled.

Robinson has pleaded not guilty, said his attorney, Vincent Accardi of Binghamton. Accardi on Friday had no other comment because the case is pending.

Norman Michaels, of Katonah, is a defendant in the case, and was indicted on the same charges in October. Michaels was arraigned Oct. 17 and released, court officials said, and his trial is set for May 12-16.

Otsego County District Attorney John M. Muehl is prosecuting the case.

Each of the accused could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

Robinson, an Oneonta resident, was 58 when he was fired November 2011 several days after his arrest on charges of second-degree insurance fraud, two counts of second-degree grand larceny, first-degree falsifying business records and first-degree scheme.

Robinson allegedly created a fictitious category in the Chamber so that individuals living in the New York City area could be enrolled in its health plan.

Michaels, was 61 when he was arrested in April on second-degree grand larceny charges for allegedly taking $62,000 in commissions from the enrollment of more than 400 people in a phony category of insurance, a state official said at the time.

Michaels' attorney, Terence Kindlon of Albany, wasn't available at his office Friday but said previously that his client has denied any misconduct.

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(c)2014 The Daily Star (Oneonta, N.Y.)

Visit The Daily Star (Oneonta, N.Y.) at www.thedailystar.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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