State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Ulster County District Attorney David J. Clegg and the New York State Police today announced the arrest of former Ulster County BOCES instructor of Criminal Justice, Anthony Sciacca, a retired Westchester County Police Officer, for allegedly swindling the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) out of $157,341.78 in unlawful pension payments.
“Sciacca allegedly forged documents in an attempt to scam the pension system of over $157,000,” DiNapoli said. “I will continue to aggressively root out anyone trying to defraud the system. I thank District Attorney Clegg and the State Police for partnering with my office in our work to protect the resources of the New York State and Local Retirement System for its members and beneficiaries.”
“I applaud the dedication and strong investigative work of our State Police members, the State Comptroller’s Office, and the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office in uncovering this blatant fraud,” New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said. “Mr. Sciacca abused the state pension system for his own financial gain and his arrest should serve as a reminder that this type of act will not be tolerated. The State Police stands ready to assist in investigating and apprehending individuals such as this who are willing to engage in fraudulent acts.”
After retiring from the Westchester Police Department in 2005, Sciacca became an instructor at Ulster County BOCES teaching criminal justice and earning a salary of over $70,000. As a state retiree under the age of 65, Sciacca was not allowed to earn more than $30,000 annually in other public employment while continuing to receive his pension without a waiver under Section 211 of the Retirement and Social Security Law.
The investigation revealed that while Sciacca had a lawful waiver from Sept. 1, 2005 through June 30, 2011, he did not have a lawful waiver for the next eight years. During this time, he continued to earn his Ulster County BOCES public salary in excess of $70,000 on top of his monthly pension payments.
When questioned about his failure to obtain a waiver, Sciacca allegedly supplied the retirement system with forged documents. These documents were ostensibly from the New York State Department of Education and falsely showed that waivers had been approved. Throughout his scheme, Sciacca was able to collect over $157,000 in pension payments which he was not entitled to.
Sciacca was arraigned in Town of New Paltz Court before Judge Rhett D. Weires and is due back in court on July 20.
He is charged with Grand Larceny, three counts of Forgery, three counts of Filing a False Instrument, three counts of Falsifying Business Records and one count of retirement fraud.
The charges filed in this case are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption 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 https://www.osc.state.ny.us/investigations, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 8th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.