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

DiNapoli and Orange County DA Hoovler Detail Guilty Plea in Pension Fraud Case

Defendant Admits to Stealing in Excess of $51,000 of Her Deceased Mother’s Pension

April 14, 2022

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Thursday, April 14, 2022, Valerie White, 58, of Middletown, pled guilty in Orange County Court to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree. Under the plea agreement announced on the record at the time of the guilty plea, White was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $51,532.64, which is the total funds that White illegally stole from the state pension system.

White’s mother was a pensioner, vested in the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS). At the time that White’s mother retired in 2000, she elected to receive her pension benefits in full until her death. When White’s mother died in 2017, the death was not reported to NYSLRS and pension benefits continued to be made to an account that White jointly held with her mother. As a result, from 2017 until NYSLRS learned of the pensioner’s death in 2019, over $54,000 were unjustly deposited into the account. While NYSLRS was able to claw back approximately $2,500 of the amount stolen, the remaining was spent by White on personal expenses. At the time of her plea, White admitted to stealing the money and that she knew she did not have permission or authority to take the funds.

“Ms. White thought she could get away with defrauding the New York State and Local Retirement System of over $50,000, but she was wrong,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. “Today’s guilty plea should be a warning sign to anyone attempting to steal state pension benefits that my office will find you and work with law enforcement to hold you accountable. I thank Orange County District Attorney Hoovler for his continued partnership and steadfast commitment to holding those who try to defraud the public accountable.”

District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Comptroller’s Office and the New York State Police for their joint investigation of White that led to her arrest.

“The State pension system is the backbone of the hard-working public servants throughout the State,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “That this defendant would seek to manipulate the system for her own benefit is reprehensible. I am thankful for the dedicated investigation conducted by the Comptroller’s Office together with the New York State Police that ensured this defendant would be held accountable for her actions.”

The case is prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Tanja Beemer.

A criminal charge is merely an allegation by the police that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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.