Main Banner

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


DiNapoli: Orange County Resident Arrested for Stealing Her Late Mother’s Pension Benefits

Over $50,000 Pocketed in Retirement Checks

June 24, 2021

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler, and the New York State Police today announced that Valerie White, of Middletown, was arrested and charged with grand larceny in the second degree (Class C Felony) for allegedly stealing $51,532.64 of her late mother’s pension payments.

“Ms. White thought she could get away with hiding her mother’s death from the retirement system to steal over $50,000. She was wrong and now will be held accountable,” DiNapoli said. “I am grateful to Orange County District Attorney Hoovler and the New York State Police for their partnership and sending the message that those who attempt to steal pension benefits will be caught and will face consequences for their criminal actions.”

“The theft of public funds is simply inexcusable. I applaud Comptroller DiNapoli and his staff for aiding in this investigation and maintaining the integrity of the New York State and Local Retirement System. Public monies must go to their designated purpose and not to enrich those who cheat. I thank the New York State Police for their work on this case and for partnering with my office and the Office of the New York State Comptroller in protecting public funds,” Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said.

Betty James died on April 11, 2017, but the New York State and Local Retirement System did not learn about her death until January 2019. The investigation revealed that following James’ death, 21 pension payments, totaling $54,047.43, were deposited into the bank account she had shared with White. White, 57, withdrew approximately $8,000 in cash from the account and made $51,532.64 in other personal payments including electronic bill payments and personal purchases, including fast food, liquor, clothing, gas and entertainment.

She was arraigned virtually before City of Middletown Justice Steve Brockett and released on her own recognizance. She is due back in court on July 8, 2021.

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, 8th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.