State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Saratoga County District Attorney Karen A. Heggen, the New York State Police and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles today announced Christmas Fish of Halfmoon, N.Y. has been charged with grand larceny for allegedly stealing nearly $13,000 of her deceased mother’s pension benefits.
“Christmas Fish allegedly hid her mother’s death to divert her pension payments to pay for ride share services, food deliveries and housing payments, among other things,” DiNapoli said. “Thanks to the work of my Division of Investigations, the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office, the New York State Police and the Department of Motor Vehicles, she will be brought to justice. My office will continue to protect the pension system from fraud.”
“I commend the dedicated work put forth by our State Police members, the State Comptroller’s Office, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office in making this arrest,” New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said. “Ms. Fish knowingly defrauded the pension system by using her deceased mother’s pension checks to fill her pockets and satisfy greed. May this arrest serve as a reminder that those who carry out such deliberate acts will be held accountable.”
“Fraud detection and prevention are the cornerstone of DMV’s investigation unit,” said Mark J.F. Schroeder, DMV Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. “We are happy to support our partners in making sure that those who attempt to defraud the state face the consequences of their actions.”
Fish’s mother, Georgia Maniscalco, retired in 2013 and died on January 28, 2021 at Fish’s home. The New York State and Local Retirement System did not learn about her death until July of 2021. Six pension payments were paid after her death, totaling $12,797. Maniscalco was the sole account holder and had a debit card in her name.
After Maniscalco’s death, Fish allegedly accessed her deceased mother’s bank account and used her debit card to make personal purchases.
Fish, 55, was arraigned in Halfmoon Town Court before Judge Joseph Fodera, and is due back in court on Dec. 21, 2022.
The charges filed in this case are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
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 https://www.osc.state.ny.us/investigations, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 8th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.