A former director at Baker Victory Services admitted Tuesday that she signed other people’s names to documents related to abuse allegations in the youth treatment program.
Kristin Hauser, 55, of Amherst, created the documents using information investigators and clients provided, and then signed those individuals’ names. She pleaded guilty to three counts of second degree forgery, all felonies.
Hauser, who was Baker Victory’s director of quality improvement, originally was accused of 67 incidents in which she signed other people’s names to reports filed with the state oversight departments.
But Hauser was the one who reported her actions after becoming concerned that she wasn’t handling the documentation properly, according to defense attorney Daniel Grasso. Hauser began rewriting the reports after the state changed its paperwork requirements, Grasso said.
“What happened was investigators (into abuse allegations) just took notes and would summarize the information. The state changed that and wanted signed statements,” Grasso said.
There has been no evidence to indicate that Hauser fabricated any information for the reports that she rewrote, he said.
“None of the cases were affected by it at all,” Grasso said. “No one was harmed and zero dollars were involved in any of this. My client came forward herself and told them, ‘I don’t know how serious this is.’ ”
Hauser wrote statements using material from both employees at the Lackawanna facility and client files and then signed their names without their knowledge, according to the state Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.
She eventually was indicted on 201 separate felony counts related to the paperwork. The forgeries were made between 2014 and 2016 and relate to 28 cases of abuse and neglect.
In accepting Hauser’s guilty plea to the three counts of the indictment, State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns said the admission would cover all other matters connected to the offenses, including an investigation by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.
Sentencing is set for July 5. The judge did not make a sentencing commitment in accepting the plea. Punishment for nonviolent felonies ranges from no jail time to up to seven years in prison.
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