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Post date: March 13 2015

A.G. Schneiderman & Comptroller DiNapoli Announce State Prison Sentence For Florida Woman In $120,000 Pension Fraud Case

Defendant Gracycelia Cizik Hid Her Uncle’s Death For 12 Years In Order To Continue To Collect His PAPD Pension; Will Serve Up To 6 Years in State Prison

ALBANY - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the conviction and sentence of Graycelia Cizik, 64, a resident of Polk County, Florida. Cizik pleaded guilty on January 21, 2015 to a one-count Indictment charging her with the crime of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony. Today, she was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in state prison by Supreme Court Judge Roger D. McDonough in Albany County Court. Cizik also agreed to a judgment in favor of the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System in the amount of $121,772.72.

Under the plea agreement, Cizik admitted to stealing $121,772.72 in pension benefits issued by the Office of the New York State Comptroller, on behalf of the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System, 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.

“We will aggressively pursue stiff penalties for those who rip off our retirement system and steal from retirees across our state who count on that money,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We will protect taxpayer dollars and prosecute those who misuse public funds.”

“Ms. Cizik scammed the New York State Retirement System and is now on her way to state prison for several years," Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said. "We will continue to safeguard the state pension system and work with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to punish those who defraud the pension fund.”

A joint investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the New York State Comptroller revealed that Cizik witnessed a cremation authorization form for Wynn when he died, but 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, and 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.

The case is the latest joint investigation under the Operation Integrity partnership between 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 case was prosecuted 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 Stephanie Swenton and Meryl Lutsky. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.