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Post date: November 5 2015

A.G. Schneiderman And Comptroller Dinapoli Announce Guilty Plea By New Jersey Man Resolving Allegations Of Theft Of Over $78,000 In New York State Pension Benefits

Defendant Was 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 P. DiNapoli today announced the guilty plea of Terence Fitzpatrick, 53, of Monmouth County, New Jersey, to the crime of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class D felony, in Albany County Court.  Fitzpatrick faces a maximum penalty of 2 & 1/3 to 7 years in prison.

Fitzpatrick was originally charged for the alleged theft of $78,000 in pension benefits from the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System issued to his deceased godfather, Thomas Sullivan.  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.  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, Fitzpatrick was accused of utilizing 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, Fitzpatrick was accused of pocketing over $78,000 in pension benefits.

“When individuals steal from the state pension system, it harms all retirees who have earned a safe and secure pension,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Today’s guilty plea represents another successful outcome by my office in our ongoing partnership with Comptroller DiNapoli to protect our state pension system from waste and abuse.”

"Mr. Fitzpatrick hid the death of a beneficiary and abused his power of attorney to attempt to steal more than $78,000 from our public retirees,” said Comptroller DiNapoli. “Now he will serve jail time for his actions.  My initiative to fight fraud on the retirement system has already resulted in a dozen criminal convictions and over $1 million in restitution.   I will continue to work with Attorney General Schneiderman in our Operation Integrity partnership to hold accountable those who defraud the public.”  

This case is the latest investigation conducted as part of Operation Integrity, a joint partnership between the New York State Attorney General and New York State Comptroller to root out waste and abuse in state government. To date, the initiative has resulted in dozens of convictions and more than $6 million in restitution to the state.

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.

The investigation was conducted by the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations and the New York State and Local Retirement System.