Friday, February 24, 2012

Former welfare fraud investigator convicted of stealing almost $5,000 from the Comptroller's Office of Unclaimed Funds

Former welfare fraud investigator convicted of stealing almost $5,000 from the Comptroller's Office of Unclaimed Funds
Source: Office of the State Comptroller

After an investigation initiated by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, a former investigator with the State Welfare Inspector General’s Office pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining unclaimed funds being held by the Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds.

The Office of Unclaimed Funds holds such monies until they are claimed by the rightful owners. DiNapoli’s investigation found that investigator had submitted 15 forged abandoned property claims to the Office of Unclaimed Funds.

The case was prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and the former investigator, who resigned from his $62,597 position with the State, was sentenced to perform community service and ordered to pay restitution.

The Comptroller maintains a site on the Internet where interested individuals, organizations or businesses may search for funds deposited with the Office of Unclaimed Funds at https://ouf.osc.state.ny.us/ouf/. Such moneys typically are sent to the Office from forgotten or unknown bank accounts, investment or brokerage accounts or insurance policies in accordance with the provisions of the Abandoned Property Law. In some cases a business or governmental agency is the owner of the money. For example, the Comptroller recently delivered $4,844.72 in unclaimed funds to the City of Syracuse.

“Fraud is fraud, but it is particularly egregious when it is committed by a public servant charged with investigating fraud,” DiNapoli said.

DiNapoli encourages the public to help fight against fraud and abuse by report allegations of fraud, corruption and abuse of taxpayer money. Persons wishing to assist the Comptroller in this may use the Comptroller’s toll-free fraud hotline at 1-888-672-4555; file a complaint online at investigations@osc.state.ny.us; or mail a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller Investigations Unit, 110 State Street, 14th floor, Albany, NY 12236.

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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