Staten Island Official Accused Of Spending Public Funds To Support Lavish Lifestyle

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Staten Island official is accused of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funds to live large.

On social media, Bill Nelson was living the life, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported. His posts showed him taking his family to NFL games, enjoying drinks poolside, smoking a cigar on the golf course and showing off part of his $100,000 knife collection.

But city investigators say his lifestyle was funded through fraud.

“This is pretty egregious conduct,” New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters said. “It’s very troubling that this occurred for over 10 years.”

He said it happened at the Staten Island district attorney’s office. Nelson was hired in 2006 to oversee purchasing.

According to court documents, he soon was using his position for personal gain. He allegedly charged his office credit card for $72,000 in vacation expenses, $100,000 in clothing, jewelry and electronics from Amazon, and $13,000 for tickets to sporting events.

As he showed off on social media, he peppered his posts with hashtags “LivingTheDream,” “#OnlyTheBest,” and “TheGoodLife.”

“According to the indictment, it was actually very easy for him to get away with this, because there were not internal controls, because he was able to both spend the money and then approve his own spending,” Peters said.

“These people should have accountability, they should have somebody monitoring them at all levels of government,” one Statent Island resident said.

“It’s a shame. People get put in a position where they can take advantage,” a man added.

The district attorney says the office has moved quickly to put better fraud controls in place.

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