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Post date: January 21 2015

A.G. Schneiderman And Comptroller DiNapoli Announce Guilty Plea By Florida Woman In $120,000 Fraud Of New York State Pension Benefits

Defendant Will Be Sentenced To 2-6 Years In State Prison On March 13, 2015

ALBANY - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced that Graycelia Cizik, 64, a resident of Polk County, Florida, pleaded guilty to a one-count indictment charging her with the crime of 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 2-6 years in state prison on March 13, 2015.

In Albany County Court today, 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. Wynn was 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 twelve year period between June 30, 1997 and October 30, 2009.

“Those who steal from New York’s state pension systems steal from all taxpayers and the retirees who count on the pension they earned,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will continue to protect taxpayer dollars and prosecute those who misuse public funds.”

“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,” said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “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.”

The case is the latest joint investigation under the Operation Integrity partnership of the Attorney General and Comptroller 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.

Attorney General Schneiderman and Comptroller DiNapoli thank the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida for their assistance.

The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigator Dennis Churns and Deputy Chief Investigator Antoine J. Karam. The Investigations Division is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella. The Comptroller’s investigation was handled by the Comptroller’s Investigations Division.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Clark of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary T. Fishman and Deputy Bureau Chiefs Meryl Lutsky and Stephanie Swenton. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.