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Deputy sentenced to 3 years probation for insurance fraud, but keeps job

An Erie County Sheriff’s deputy was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to insurance fraud, but he will be able to keep his job after signing a “last chance” contract.

Keith Capodicasa, 43, of Orchard Park will be suspended for 30 working days from his position as a Family Court deputy. He has been on unpaid administrative leave.

Capodicasa crashed his car into another vehicle in June 2015 and tried to cover up the incident by reporting his car stolen. Progressive Insurance Co. sent him a check a month later for $21,608, made out to the leasing company that owned the car. The damaged vehicle was found two days after that in the Buffalo City Court parking ramp.

Defense attorney Joel Daniels attributed the deputy’s actions to a drinking problem with which he has struggled for many years. Daniels pointed out that, under the “last chance” contract Capodicasa signed with the Sheriff’s Office, he will lose his job if he is arrested or violates any department policies ever again, with no right to challenge the firing. Capodicasa has been a deputy for 17 years.

“The ball is in his court. He drops it, and his job is out the window,” Daniels said.

In pronouncing sentence, Justice Russell P. Buscaglia noted the “recurring theme” of alcohol abuse in the deputy’s past, and the fact that he appears to be committed to recovery.

“For the past year, you have been alcohol free. You say you’ve turned your life around,” Buscaglia said. “I’ve heard that before. But, I’m not going to put you in jail. Your attorney has asked for a conditional discharge – I’m not going to do that either. I’m ordering three years probation.”

The judge made it clear the sentence includes counseling and random alcohol testing, as well as the usual conditions. Capodicasa already has made full restitution.

The deputy also apologized to his family and the Sheriff’s Office.

“I’m sorry for what I did,” he said. “I’m an officer of the law and I should know better.”

email: mmiller@buffnews.com

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