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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Corrupt Courthouse Bookkeeper Stole $2.6 Million From The Dead

Corrupt Brooklyn courthouse bookkeeper stole $2.6 million from the dead
The New York Daily News by Greg B. Smith and Janon Fisher  -  May 4, 2012
Theft funded lavish shopping sprees for camera equipment, Gucci products, Apple computers and even a New Year’s Eve weekend in Las Vegas: officials
Richard Paul was the alleged ringleader of four people from the Brooklyn Public Administrator who were indicted and charged with stealing $2.6 million from the estates of the deceased.  George Bethea was one of four people from the Brooklyn Public Administrator indicted and charged with stealing $2.6 million from the estates of the deceased.

A corrupt county bookkeeper in the Brooklyn courthouse stole $2.6 million from the estates of dead people and funneled the money to three of his cronies, according to indictments unsealed Friday.  Richard Paul, who worked in the Kings County Public Administrator’s office, used his own password to get access to the funds of people who died without wills, cut checks to phony names and deposited them into a TD Bank account in the Garment District.  Paul, who was arrested in January, and his cohort Taryn Miller, 33, are both charged with two counts of grand larceny. Miller’s husband, George Bethea, 34, and former city department of corrections officer Ransel Sangster, 35, were charged with grand larceny in the second degree. All pleaded not guilty.  “By breaching the public trust in order to line his pockets, the defendant violated his obligations to the City and to all New Yorkers,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said of Paul. The fraud uncovered by Investigations Department exposed a weakness in the city’s system of maintaining so-called “abandoned” estates — estates where no legitimate relative comes forward to claim the money.  When the public administrators can’t find next of kin, they’re supposed to send the money by check to the city Finance Department, which holds on to it in case a relative comes forward later.  But investigators discovered the public administrators and finance weren’t double-checking to make sure the money got to where it was supposed to go.  In Brooklyn, investigators discovered one out of every four checks went missing — $12.7 million of $34.4 million from abandoned estates between 2004 and 2011. That included the $2.6 million allegedly stolen by Paul.  The problem may exist in the other boroughs as well, where 567 checks from abandoned estates worth $110 million have been written to the finance department since Jan. 1, 2007, officials said.  Finance auditors are now going back over all those checks to make sure they were deposited correctly Finance auditors are now checking.  “This investigation exposed an audacious and calculated scheme to steal money from the dead” DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said. “Investigators quickly found that a key insider and his accomplices methodically raided the accounts of a City office charged with safeguarding decedents’ property. DOI is recommending measures to the relevant City agencies to prevent a recurrence of the fraud uncovered by the investigation.”  Paul, who worked at the Public Administrator’s office for 10 years, used his own password to log into the computer that controls the funds, prosecutors say.  Starting in August 2008 through November of last year, prosecutors say he cut checks for draw-dropping amounts of cash. Sangster, deposited a $390,287.41 in his bank account in August 2008 and another for $200,000 in November 2011 while he was still working for the DOC, prosecutors say. Bethea was the recipient of $150,000 that should have gone in the public coffers, according to court papers.  The crew went on shopping sprees, spending $44,000 on camera equipment, Gucci products and Apple computers, investigators believe. Sangster also treated himself to a New Year’s Eve weekend in Las Vegas. He declined to comment.  Paul’s lawyer, Louis Rosenthal, said that his client trained others on the computer bookkeeping system and his password was available to many employees.  “Half a dozen people have his password and passcode,” he said. “It’s unthinkable that he would use his own code to cut forged checks.”  Darren Fields, the lawyer for Miller, said that his client has no association with the county office.  “She never worked for the public administrator, she never received funds from the public administrator,” he said. “She’s a victim of circumstance.”  jfisher@nydailynews.com

9 comments:

Tip said...

This is just the tip of the iceberg!

Searching For Rule Of Law In America said...

kudos to Vance and his investigators...

--Michael A. Hense is Searching For Rule Of Law In America

Anonymous said...

Same thing Gary Weber, Mike Cippillino Cygier and many fiduciary vilating attorneys such as Francis M.McInerney. Have been doing in Suffolk surogate court. For decades.How offfensive..robbing the dead. Bad Karma. I hope the deceased they stole from haunt these deviant crooks.

Anonymous said...

These are being prosecuted, while others continue on their merry way. The Surrogate courts in NY are corrupt and they all want a piece of the pie. When judges take bigger amounts and are protected by Chief Judge Lippman, nothing is done.

Anonymous said...

When the courts in NY are as corrupt as they continue to be and are compelled to always participate in the corruption that keeps the many lawsuits against them, alive for decades, their actions that are always manipulating the laws so they can succeed in those actions, keep them from viewing the corruption that their non-suing employees are committing!
Karma or is it the cover-ups that will bite them right into the publicity that they are attempting to avoid.
Whatever it is.. OCA is spinning out of control and the truth of what they have done has been uncovered and cannot be controlled any longer!

Searching For Rule Of Law In America said...

"their actions that are always manipulating the laws"...

verrrry well put...

--Michael A. Hense is Searching For Rule Of Law In America

Anonymous said...

All of the above are true. Why bother having a legal system that not only charges taxes but steals from the very people being taxed. Pretend legal system. Expose them is the only answer. The wild west. Which did not charge citizens for their Saloon shoot out justice.
Was probably a better system then this judicial system.TAhieves in black robes.Black for bad.The same as the black hat the bad guy wore in the wild west movies. Too much to hide anymore. Country is going broke.
Something has to be done about asset backed securities. Which is a large part of their thievery.

Westchester Victim said...

The scam goes on in Westchester, just look at Jody Ketz in Scarpino's Surrogate Court

Anonymous said...

Paul’s lawyer, Louis Rosenthal, said that his client trained others on the computer bookkeeping system and his password was available to many employees.

Funny really funny the wheels go round and round. Louis Rosenthal Esq and Prior surrogate justice Finberg also had their hands in the cookie jar.

Over billing and signing off on the court compensation orders. Rubber stamping for their friends.

Jewelry from estates and bonds, safe deposit boxes.
Pumps of New York.

Finberg and Louie have matching condos in Florida.

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