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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Treasurer Of Police Charity Arrested For Stealing Over $400,000 Meant For Families Of NYPD Officers Killed In The Line Of Duty

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Jonathan D. Larsen, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New York Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (“IRS-CI”), announced the arrest of LORRAINE SHANLEY today on charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.  SHANLEY, the former volunteer treasurer of a nonprofit charity, allegedly participated in a scheme in which she obtained over $410,000 of the charity’s money meant for the families of New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) officers killed in the line of duty.  SHANLEY surrendered this morning and will be presented today in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Lorraine Shanley allegedly capitalized on tragedy and monetized people’s generosity.  As alleged, Shanley stole over 20 percent of the donations to a charity whose sole mission is to help the families of NYPD officers killed in the line of duty.  Thanks to the investigative work of the IRS and special agents from our Office, Shanley will be prosecuted for her actions.”

IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen said:  “As alleged in the complaint, Lorraine Shanley violated her position of trust at a charity and victimized families who have already sacrificed so much.  IRS-CI is committed to following the money and investigating those individuals who steal from charities for their own personal gain.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed today[1]:

For many years, from at least 2010 to 2017, SHANLEY served as a volunteer treasurer for a charity that provides financial support to the families of NYPD officers killed in the line of duty (“Charity-1”).  During that time period, Charity-1 received approximately $1.9 million in donations, over 99 percent of which came from NYPD employees, from an average of 5,500 NYPD employees per year. 

SHANLEY was an authorized signatory on Charity-1’s bank account and credit card, and was authorized to use them for Charity-1’s operations.  But SHANLEY also used the bank account and credit card to benefit herself and her family members, fraudulently obtaining over $410,000 from 2010 to 2017.  For example, using Charity-1’s bank account and credit card, SHANLEY:

  • Wrote at least $45,000 in checks that were either payable to family members, or that were made out to other people but which SHANLEY double endorsed and deposited into her own accounts;
  • Paid approximately $29,000  for her grandchild’s private school tuition;
  • Paid approximately $63,000 for legal services and expenses related to criminal charges against SHANLEY’s son;
  • Paid approximately $32,000 for personal dental expenses and approximately $25,000 for landscaping on her personal residence; and
  • Purchased over $8,000 in event tickets, including over $1,400 for Barbara Streisand concert tickets.

On many of the checks SHANLEY wrote for unauthorized purposes, SHANLEY forged the signature of another authorized signatory on Charity-1’s bank account.  SHANLEY’s fraudulent conduct was uncovered when a new volunteer with Charity-1 reviewed the charity’s tax returns and records as part of an effort to modernize the charity’s operations.

*                *                *

SHANLEY, 68, of Staten Island, New York, is charged with one count of bank fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum penalty of two years in prison, which must run consecutively to any other term of imprisonment imposed.  The maximum and mandatory minimum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of Special Agents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the IRS-CI.  He also thanked the New York City Police Department for their assistance.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Brett M. Kalikow is in charge of the prosecution. 

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

 

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
19-092
Updated March 21, 2019