Tuesday, January 14, 2020

NY DAILY NEWS:Staten Island woman who stole $400k from charity for slain police officers gets 2 years

JAN 14, 2020  6:24 PM
Lorraine Shanley standing with her defense attorney as she was sentenced to 2 years behind bars by Judge Sidney Stien.
SOS widows in the audience. Artwork by Elizabeth Williams  ( click on image to see larger)

She scammed the shield — and it’ll cost her two years behind bars.
A Staten Island woman who stole $406,000 from a charity for slain police officers didn’t shed a tear as she was sentenced on Tuesday to two years in prison before a courtroom of NYPD widows and their supporters.Lorraine Shanley raided the Survivors of the Shield charity from 2010 to 2017 thanks to her volunteer role as treasurer. She spent more than $25,000 of the pilfered money on landscaping, $32,000 on dental bills and $10,000 on eyewear.“
Maria Dziergowski, a widow who also served as VP at the charity, said her friendship with Shanley, 69, had destroyed her own reputation. She’d been frozen out of the tight-knit police community because people wrongly suspected she was involved in the scam.“My reputation is ruined. I have widows that won’t talk to me...won’t even look at me,” Dziergowski said. She called Shanley’s crime “just disgusting.”
Assistant US Attorney Brett Kalikow addresses Judge Stien pressing for more jail time for Shanley due to several facts one, being that she had not taken responsibilty for her crime, claiming she stole the money
for a special needs grandchild. 

Shanley’s husband, Officer Thomas Shanley, died of a heart attack on the job in 1986. She previously said that her son’s serious legal trouble, a disabled grandson and other hardships drove her to steal from the charity — though that didn’t explain vacations, tickets for Broadway shows and shopping sprees, among other luxuries. All told, Shanley wrote 121 fraudulent checks and 642 credit card transactions on the Survivors of the Shield’s dime, according to prosecutors. 

The charity relied on donations almost exclusively from active duty police officers.Judge Sidney Stein ordered Shanley also serve three years of supervised release, pay restitution of $406,851 to Survivors of the Shield and $103,983 to the IRS.The judge lamented Shanley’s “terrible detour into criminal wrongdoing” and urged her to commit herself to helping other prisoners while incarcerated.The charity generated as much as $275,000 per year that mostly went to the families of slain NYPD officers and scholarships for children who lost a parent in the line of duty. 

The charity’s donations have dropped significantly since Shanley was charged, Survivors of the Shield members said in court.“With every paycheck, thousands of New York City Police Department officers and employees donated to charity to support the surviving spouses and children of officers killed in the line of duty. Yet for years, Lorraine Shanley exploited that generosity, using her position as the charity’s volunteer treasurer to steal over $400,000 for herself and her family. Today’s sentence sends a clear message that those who commit such fraud will face serious consequences," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.