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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015

Comptroller DiNapoli & A.G. Schneiderman Announce Arrest of Brooklyn Man for Allegedly Pocketing over $23K in Deceased Mother's Pension Benefits

Jimmie Buie of Brooklyn Allegedly Stole Over $23K in State Pension Benefits Issued to Deceased Mother
DiNapoli & Schneiderman: Today’s Arrest Exemplifies Our Commitment to Rooting Out and Fully Prosecuting Pension Fraud

March 16, 2017

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today the unsealing of a one-count indictment charging Jimmie Buie, a resident of Brooklyn, with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony. Jimmie Buie is alleged to have stolen over $23,000 in pension benefits issued by the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System to his deceased mother, Sandra Buie, between May 2011 and December 2012.

"Jimmie Buie allegedly profited over $23,000 from his mother's death by stealing her retirement checks," said State Comptroller DiNapoli. "Our fight against pension fraud has led to more than 20 arrests and $2.7 million in ordered recoveries. My message is clear: If you try to get away with pension fraud, we will find you and hold you responsible. I thank Attorney General Schneiderman for his continued partnership in rooting out public corruption."

"It is simply reprehensible to exploit the death of a loved one by stealing their pension benefits," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "Today’s arrest exemplifies our commitment to rooting out and prosecuting pension fraud to the fullest extent."

According to documents filed in Kings County Supreme Court today, Buie’s grandmother, Thelma Hairston, was a New York State pensioner who retired in 1995. At the time of her retirement, Thelma Hairston selected to receive her pension as a Pop Up Joint Allowance Half, which provided her with a reduced pension benefit, but allowed her to pass on pension payments to her daughter, Sandra Buie, at the time of her death. Thelma Hairston died in 1996, and Sandra Buie ultimately began to receive her share of monthly pension benefits.

Sandra Buie died on May 15, 2011. According to the investigation, Jimmie Buie is listed as the informant on her death certificate. However, prosecutors allege that Jimmie Buie, who lived in the apartment where the pension checks were mailed to, enlisted four associates to cash nineteen pension checks after Sandra Buie’s death. Jimmie Buie concealed Sandra Buie’s death from the Retirement System in order to continue receiving Sandra Buie’s pension payments. In total, prosecutors allege Jimmie Buie stole over $23,000 in pension benefits until the Retirement System discovered his mother’s death.

Jimmie Buie was arraigned on the indictment today before Honorable Dineen Riviezzo in Kings County Supreme Court, and entered a plea of not guilty. Bail was set at $5,000 cash or a $15,000 bond. He is due back in court on April 3. If convicted, Jimmie Buie faces up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in state prison.

The charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Comptroller DiNapoli’s investigation was handled by the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations working with the New York State and Local Retirement System.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Herman Wun of the Public Integrity Bureau. The Public Integrity Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Daniel G. Cort. The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigator Dennis Churns and Joel Cordone under the supervision of Deputy Chief Antoine Karam. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella.

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 [email protected], or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.