Daughter admits stealing over $148,000 of New York State Public Employees’ Retirement System funds after failing to report her retired father’s death
Source: Office of the State Comptroller
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that Renee Kanas, 63, a resident of Tamarac, Florida, pleaded guilty today to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a Class D felony, for stealing over $148,000 in pension payments from the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System paid to her father, Jacob Yudenfreund, a New York State pensioner who died in March 2010.
By failing to notify the New York Stateand Local Employees Retirement System of her father’s passing in March 2010, Kanas she continued to collect his pension benefits for approximately five years. During this time period, Kanas lived off the stolen money and, among other things, took multiple cruises, including to the Caribbean.
In May 2016, Kanas was arrested on a warrant by City of Tamarac Road Patroland Broward County Sheriff’s in Florida. Having been brought to Albany Countyto face these charges, on June 30, 2016, Kanas today pleaded guilty before Honorable Thomas A. Breslin in Albany Supreme Court. As part of her plea, Kanas signed a confession of judgment in favor of New York Statein the amount of $148,092.24 and now faces up six years in state prison when she is sentenced.
The investigation was conducted by the New York State Comptroller’s Division of Investigations and the Attorney General. This case is the latest joint investigation under the Operation Integrity partnership of the Comptroller and Attorney General, which to date has resulted in dozens of convictions and more than $11 million in restitution. Comptroller DiNapoli and the Attorney General thank the City of Tamarac Road Patrol and Broward County Sheriff’s in Floridafor their assistance.
The Comptroller’s investigation was conducted by the Comptroller’s Division of Investigations, working with the New York Stateand Local Retirement System.
The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigator Mark Spencer, Investigator Casey Quinlan and Deputy Chief Antoine Karam. Forensic accounting was performed by Associate Forensic Auditor Meaghan Scovello. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella. The Forensic Audit Section is led by Chief Auditor Edward J. Keegan.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Philip V. Apruzzese of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary T. Fishman and Deputy Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.
Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption and encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. Individuals can report allegations of fraud involving public funds by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by transmitting an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, by filing a complaint online athttp://osc.state.ny.us/investigations/complaintform2.htm or by mailing a complaint to Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236.