New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today the sentencing of Jimmie Buie, a Brooklyn resident, for stealing over $22,000 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 was convicted of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and sentenced to 1 ½ to 3 years in state prison by the Honorable Elizabeth Foley in Kings County Supreme Court.
"Jimmie Buie concocted an elaborate scheme to steal his deceased mother’s pension," said State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. "Thanks to our investigators and the Attorney General, he’ll serve jail time and repay $22,000 to the New York State and Local Retirement System."
"Stealing pension benefits from a deceased family member is not a victimless crime, nor will it go unpunished," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "My office will continue to prosecute those who attempt to undermine the Retirement System and steal from living, retired New Yorkers who depend it."
According to statements made in court, Jimmie Buie’s grandmother, Thelma Hairston, was a New York State pensioner who retired in 1995. At the time of her retirement, 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, following Hairston's death. When Hairston died in 1996, Sandra Buie began to receive Hairston’s share of monthly pension benefits.
During Jimmie Buie’s guilty plea, he disclosed that his mother, Sandra Buie, died on May 15, 2011. However, Jimmie Buie, who lived in the apartment where the pension checks were mailed to each month, admitted that he enlisted help from four associates to cash 19 pension checks after Sandra Buie’s death. Jimmie Buie concealed his mother’s death from the Retirement System in order to continue receiving her pension payments. In total, Jimmie Buie stole over $22,000 in pension benefits before the Retirement System discovered his mother’s death.
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 was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Herman Wun of the Public Integrity Bureau. The Public Integrity Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Daniel G. Cort and Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz.
The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigators 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.