A three-member panel of the State Parole Board has turned down a disgraced former city detective’s bid for early release. The decision means that former Kingston Police detective lieutenant Tim Matthews will spend at least another 10 months in state prison where he is serving a three to nine year sentence for grand larceny.
Matthews has been imprisoned since February 2012, following his guilty plea to two counts of third-degree grand larceny. As head of the KPD’s Detective Division, and later as co-commander of the countywide Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team, authorities say Matthews stole $202,000 in cash held as evidence or give to police as “buy money” for undercover operations. He was also accused of stealing $10,000 from Ulster Savings Bank for billing it for security work he never performed. Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright said that Matthews engaged in a “pattern of theft” of cash from a police evidence vault that stretched back at least 10 years. The scheme unraveled when Matthews was suspended amidst an investigation into allegations of payroll fraud at a side job with the Kingston City School District and the discrepancy in the evidence safe was discovered.
Matthews was eligible for “meritorious release” in August. It’s a release granted to nonviolent offenders who complete five-sixths of their minimum sentence, participate in prison programming and keep a clean disciplinary record. In its April 15 decision denying the meritorious release, the board noted the severity of the crime and the fact that Matthews violated the trust of fellow cops and the public.
“Your release at this time would so deprecate the serious nature of the crime of the crime as to undermine respect for the law,” the decision reads.
Matthews will have another parole hearing in November to determine if he will be released at his earliest possible regular parole date in February 2015. If he’s denied, it will likely be another two years before he has another chance for parole. Matthews is currently incarcerated at the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Marcy. He’s assigned to a special unit which houses former cops, politicians, celebrities and other inmates deemed too vulnerable for assignment to the general prison population.