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

DiNapoli: Binghamton Woman Sentenced for Stealing Deceased Father-In-Law's Pension Payments

May 1, 2024

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Broome County District Attorney F. Paul Battisti today announced that Joy LaBarr, a 58-year-old Binghamton woman, was sentenced to pay full restitution of $32,000 and serve five years’ probation.

“Ms. LaBarr’s conviction should serve as a warning to those who try to defraud the New York State Pension system,” DiNapoli said. “My office is committed to protecting the Pension Fund from fraud and I thank Broome County District Attorney Battisti for partnering with us to ensure she was brought to justice.”

“The sentencing of Joy LaBarr marks a significant step towards accountability for her actions. LaBarr stole her deceased father-in-law's pension funds, which breached the trust placed in her and denied the legitimate beneficiaries of their entitled resources. This sentence, requiring full restitution and five years' probation, highlights the significance of financial exploitation. We commend the collaborative efforts that ensured LaBarr was held accountable for her actions,” said District Attorney Battisti.

LaBarr had pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the 3rd Degree earlier this year for stealing nearly $32,000 in New York State pension payments intended for her deceased father-in-law.

LaBarr’s father-in-law, Jack Burnett, retired in 2006 from the Binghamton Housing Authority. Under the pension option he chose, his wife was to continue receiving payments after his death. However, she predeceased him, so payments should have stopped upon his death in December 2020. No one from the family reported his passing.

The state retirement system became aware of Burnett’s death in July 2022 and stopped payments. After the payments stopped, LaBarr called the retirement system falsely claiming that Burnett was alive but was unable to personally come to the phone because he was hard of hearing. She then inquired about the stopped July payment in an effort to have payments resumed.

LaBarr lived in the home with Burnett prior to his death and admitted to investigators to having used Burnett’s debit card after his death and making the call to the retirement system. In addition to ATM cash withdrawals, LaBarr used the stolen funds to purchase clothing, make other online purchases, and pay her mortgage. A total of 19 monthly electronic deposits were made into the bank account after the date of death, totaling $31,872.55.

LaBarr was sentenced in Broome County Court by Judge Carol A. Cocchiola.

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, or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 8th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.