New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today the unsealing of a one count indictment charging Linda Miller, 57, a resident of Englewood, N.J., with grand larceny in the second degree, a class C felony, in Albany County Court. Miller is alleged to have stolen over $162,000 in pension benefits from the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System, payable to her deceased mother, Josephine Miller.
"Those who steal from the State pension system will be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. "Due to my joint task force with Attorney General Schneiderman, Ms. Miller now must answer for the money she diverted from New York State's retirees, retirement system members and taxpayers. I thank Attorney General Schneiderman for his continued partnership in fighting corruption and protecting public money."
"I am proud to stand with Comptroller DiNapoli in protecting our state pension system from fraud and abuse," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "When individuals steal from our state pension system, it harms all of the retirees who count on this income for a secure retirement."
Josephine Miller was a New York State pensioner, who retired from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Miller died in 2006, with no survivor designated to receive benefits. According to the Comptroller and Attorney General's Office, the defendant failed to notify the Retirement System of her mother's death. Instead, authorities allege she continued to receive retirement benefits during a six year period between May 1, 2006 and August 31, 2012. All told, the Attorney General and Comptroller's Offices allege that Miller stole over $162,000 in pension benefits.
Linda Miller turned herself in to the New York State Police to face the charge. She was arraigned on the indictment before Supreme Court Justice Thomas Breslin in Albany County Court, where she entered a plea of not guilty.
The charges are accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendant would face up to five to fifteen years in state prison.
The Joint Task Force on Public Integrity is a cooperative effort between Comptroller DiNapoli's and Attorney General Schneiderman's offices to root out public corruption and the misuse of public funds by maximizing the resources of each office.
The investigation was conducted by the Comptroller's Division of Investigations, with assistance from Investigator Dennis Churns and Deputy Chief Investigator Antoine J. Karam and Legal Analyst Sara Pogorzelski of the Attorney General's Investigations Division which is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella.
The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Christopher Baynes of the Public Integrity Bureau. The Public Integrity Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Daniel Cort and Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.
DiNapoli 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 [email protected], or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 14th floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.