Skip to Content

Login   Subscribe   Site Index   Contact Us   Google Translate™

NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

June 15, 2015, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli: Son Left Father’s Body in Morgue to Steal His Pension and Social Security Payments

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the pending sentencing of a Queens man for concealing his father’s death so he could continue to unlawfully collect pension payments of $7,542 and social security payments of $17,790 which were electronically deposited into a checking account in the name of his father.

Christopher Bunn, 49, is scheduled for sentencing Tuesday and is expected to pay full restitution before Queens County Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron based upon his guilty plea in October to grand larceny in the third degree, a Class D felony, and petit larceny. Bunn has already served six months in federal prison related to his arrest.

“Mr. Bunn left his deceased father’s body unclaimed at the Nassau County morgue for more than a year so he could steal his pension and social security payments,” State Comptroller DiNapoli said, “We will continue to work with state and federal authorities to root out fraud and protect the retirement system. I thank District Attorney Brown and the Social Security Inspector General for their partnership and continued commitment to protecting public funds.”

“My office is committed to investigating this type of fraud against the Social Security system,” said Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Ryan, Office of the Inspector General, Social Security Administration. “It is illegal to conceal or fail to report deaths to continue receiving someone else’s Social Security benefits. I am gratified by the State Comptroller’s pursuit of justice in this case.”

“The defendant has admitted to receiving his deceased father’s social security and pension payments for well over a year, following his death,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “Thus robbing the New York pension system and the federal government of tens of thousands of dollars in unlawfully obtained benefits. My office will continue to pursue and prosecute individuals who abuse the system for their own benefit.”

James Bunn was a designated beneficiary collecting retirement benefits that were not transferable upon his death. The funds were deposited electronically into James Bunn’s checking account from February 2010 through April 2011. In May 2011, the Social Security Inspector General notified the New York State and Local Retirement System that the body of James Bunn – who died on February 24, 2010 – remained unclaimed by his son at the Nassau County Medical Examiner’s morgue. Further investigation revealed that Christopher Bunn had withdrawn the money from his father’s account.

This matter is one of a series of investigations by DiNapoli’s office that have led to criminal convictions and recovery of unlawful retirement payments. In 2011, DiNapoli’s investigation of a double-dipping former Rome police officer resulted in the recovery of almost $90,000. DiNapoli’s 2012 investigation of double-dipping at the Troy Housing Authority led to two guilty pleas and the recovery of almost $70,000 in unlawfully paid pension earnings.

In 2015, DiNapoli’s work with the Attorney General’s Office resulted in a two- to six-year prison sentence of a Florida resident for defrauding the system of over $100,000 and pending indictments of two New Jersey residents for stealing over $100,000 in pension funds. Most recently, in May 2015, a retired Suffolk County police officer was convicted in Nassau County of defrauding the pension system of more than $465,000 and ordered to pay full restitution.

Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption and fraud and encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at investigations@osc.state.ny.us, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.

Albany Phone: (518) 474-4015 Fax: (518) 473-8940
NYC Phone: (212) 383-1388 Fax: (212) 681-7677
Internet: www.osc.state.ny.us
E-Mail: press@osc.state.ny.us
Follow us on Twitter: @NYSComptroller
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/nyscomptroller