State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced that Graycelia Cizik, 64, a resident of Polk County, Florida, pleaded guilty to a one-count indictment charging her with grand larceny in the second degree, a class C felony, before Supreme Court Judge Roger D. McDonough in Albany County Court. Cizik will be sentenced to 2 to 6 years in state prison on March 13, 2015.
Cizik admitted to stealing $121,772.72 in pension benefits issued by the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System. The benefits were issued to her deceased uncle, David Wynn, a New York state pensioner who retired from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and died in 1988.
According to the joint investigation, Cizik witnessed a cremation authorization form for Wynn when he died and failed to notify the Retirement System of Wynn’s death. Instead, Cizik submitted false information to Wynn’s bank indicating that he was still alive while she utilized a power of attorney to access his account and withdraw pension benefits paid on his behalf during a 12 year period from June 30, 1997 to Oct. 30, 2009.
“Ms. Cizik stole $120,000 by pocketing her uncle’s state pension payments after his death. Now, she has pleaded guilty and faces up to six years in prison,” DiNapoli said. “My office will continue to safeguard the New York State Pension Fund and, thanks to our partnership with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, bring these criminals to justice.”
“Those who steal from New York’s state pension systems steal from all taxpayers and the retirees who count on the pension they earned,” Schneiderman said. “My office will continue to protect taxpayer dollars and prosecute those who misuse public funds.”
The case is the latest joint investigation under the Operation Integrity partnership of the Comptroller and Attorney General which has resulted in dozens of convictions and more than $6 million in restitution. Cizik was arrested in August 2014 by agents of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida and extradited to Albany County to face the indictment.
Comptroller DiNapoli and Attorney General Schneiderman thank the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida for their assistance.
Anyone with additional information on any other suspected public corruption is encouraged to contact the State Comptroller’s office by calling the toll-free fraud hotline at 1-888-672-4555; filing a complaint online at [email protected]; or mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller’s Division of Investigations, 110 State Street, 14th floor, Albany, NY 12236.