KIRKVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - A Kirkville woman is facing felony charges for allegedly stealing pension benefits intended for her mother, who died nearly six years ago.
According to New York State officials – including the State Comptroller and the Attorney General – Tammy Banack hid her mother’s death in 2009 from the New York State and Local Retirement system to pilfer $67,000 in benefits.
They say she also illegally obtained $19,000 through welfare fraud, according to the Comptroller’s Office.
Banack faces charges including second-degree grand larceny, third-degree welfare fraud, two counts of third-degree grand larceny, and offering a false instrument for filing – all felonies.
“When her mother died, Tammy Banack concealed the death from the New York State & Local Retirement System to steal $67,000,” said State Comptroller DiNapoli. “I thank Attorney General Schneiderman for partnering with us to find and prosecute those who steal public retirement funds.”
“To exploit the death of a loved one by stealing their pension benefits is reprehensible,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Today’s arrest sends the message that we will keep working to root out and prosecute pension and welfare fraud to the fullest extent.”
Investigators say Banack’s mother – Rosemary Banack – was receiving pension benefits after her husband, Anthony Banack, died in 2004.
The funds were going to a joint bank account in the names of Rosemary and Tammy Banack.
After her mother died, Tammy Banack allegedly continued to take money out of the account to spend on herself.
She was also allegedly receiving Medicaid assistance through the department of social services, and hiding the $1,000 she was taking from the pension benefits.
Banack was arraigned on the five-count indictment in Onondaga County Court, and she entered a not-guilty plea.
She was jailed in lieu of $20,000 cash bail or bond.
Banack faces up to 5 to 15 years in prison if convicted.
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