Former businessman headed to prison

QUEENSBURY — The former local car dealer who has faced a host of fraud-related charges in recent years is headed to state prison for up to 6 years after admitting he violated his felony probation when arrested three times in recent months.

Michael J. Vittengl, 61, of Lake George, agreed to accept a sentence of between 1 to 3 and 2 to 6 years when sentenced next week by Warren County Judge John Hall for admitting he violated probation for a grand larceny conviction earlier this year.

The grand larceny conviction stemmed from his theft of a painting worth up to $8,000 from a Saratoga Springs art gallery.

With weeks of being put on probation though, Vittengl was arrested on charges alleging scammed a boat owner into believing he had a dock to rent on Lake George at a friend’s home, when he did not have permission to use the dock, and then using the $60,000 pontoon boat while the boat owner was not there.

He faces charges of petit larceny and unauthorized use of a boat in that case, and was also charged with misdemeanor falsely reporting an incident for falsely claiming he was assaulted by staff in Warren County Jail. Security cameras disproved his claim that an officer went in his cell and attacked him, police said.

Despite the spate of recent arrests, Vittengl was hesitant Wednesday in Warren County Court when weighing whether to admit violating probation. He asked Hall whether he could receive a one-year Warren County Jail sentencing instead of going to prison. But Hall said his options were to contest the probation violation accusations, or make an admissions and face a definite prison sentence of 1.5 to 4.5 years, or to argue for a lesser sentence with a low end of 1 to 3 years and a high end of 2 to 6 years.

Vittengl opted for the latter. He faced a maximum of 2-1/3 to 7 years.

The disposition requires him to plead guilty in the pending misdemeanor cases, with any sentences to run concurrently.

Vittengl is being held in Warren County Jail without bail pending sentencing Oct. 17.