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Post date: May 4 2015

A.G. Schneiderman And Comptroller DiNapoli Announce Criminal Charges Over Alleged Theft Of $78,000 In New York State Pension Benefits

Defendant Accused of Stealing Pension Benefits Issued to His Deceased Godfather Over A Period of Six Years

ALBANY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli today announced the unsealing of a one count indictment before the Honorable Peter Lynch charging Terence Fitzpatrick, 43, a resident of Monmouth County, New Jersey, with the crime of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, in Albany County Court. Fitzpatrick is alleged to have stolen over $78,000 in pension from the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System, payable to his deceased godfather, Thomas Sullivan.

“Today’s criminal charges send a clear message: if you are accused of stealing from the state pension system, you will face stiff consequences,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Many New Yorkers count on their pension for a secure retirement, and those who cheat the system are stealing from retirees across the state and across the country.”

"Mr. Fitzpatrick thought he could scheme the retirement system and get away with it. He was wrong," said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. "Attorney General Schneiderman and I will continue our partnership to protect public money including the retirement funds that so many New Yorkers depend upon."

Sullivan was a New York State pensioner who retired from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. He died in 2003, with his wife collecting benefits until her death in 2006. According to the charges developed by the Attorney General’s Office and the Comptroller’s Office, Fitzpatrick, who had been acting as power of attorney before Sullivan’s death, failed to notify the Retirement System of Sullivan’s death, or Sullivan’s wife’s death. Instead, authorities allege, Fitzpatrick utilized his power of attorney to access the account and withdraw pension benefits paid on Sullivan’s behalf during a six year period between November 1, 2006 and August 31, 2012. All told, the Comptroller and Attorney General’s Office alleges Fitzpatrick stole over $78,000 in pension benefits and liquidated the money during that time period.

Fitzpatrick turned himself in to the New York State Police to face the charge. He was arraigned on the indictment in Albany County Court, and 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 Attorney General Schneiderman's and Comptroller DiNapoli's offices to root out public corruption and the misuse of public funds by maximizing the resources of each office.

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.

The investigation was conducted by the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations.

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