Hudson Valley Teacher, Cop Arrested By New York Comptroller
A man who educated young minds in the Hudson Valley and also protected the region for many years was arrested.
On Thursday, New York State State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli along with Ulster County District Attorney David J. Clegg and New York State Police announced the arrest of a former Ulster County BOCES instructor who's also a former Westchester County Police Officer.
Ulster County Boces Teacher Arrested
Anthony Sciacca, a retired Westchester County Police Officer, taught criminal justice at Ulster County BOCES. He's accused of swindling the New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS) out of $157,341.78 in unlawful pension payments.
“Sciacca allegedly forged documents in an attempt to scam the pension system of over $157,000,” DiNapoli said. “I will continue to aggressively root out anyone trying to defraud the system."
The former police officer was charged with grand larceny, three counts of forgery, three counts of filing a false instrument, three counts of falsifying business records and one count of retirement fraud.
“I applaud the dedication and strong investigative work of our State Police members, the State Comptroller’s Office, and the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office in uncovering this blatant fraud,” New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said. “Mr. Sciacca abused the state pension system for his own financial gain and his arrest should serve as a reminder that this type of act will not be tolerated. The State Police stands ready to assist in investigating and apprehending individuals such as this who are willing to engage in fraudulent acts.”
Former Westchester County, New York Police Officer Arrested
Sciacca began teaching at Ulster County BOCEs after retiring from the Westchester Police Department in 2005. He earned a salary of over $70,000 as an instructor at Ulster County BOCES teaching criminal justice, officials say.
"As a state retiree under the age of 65, Sciacca was not allowed to earn more than $30,000 annually in other public employment while continuing to receive his pension without a waiver under Section 211 of the Retirement and Social Security Law," the Office of the New York State Comptroller stated in a press release.
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Ulster County, New York Teacher Investigated By New York State Comptroller
Officials allege Sciaa did have a lawful waiver from Sept. 1, 2005, through June 30, 2011, but he did not have a lawful waiver for the next eight years. During those eight years, he continued to receive his teaching salary, over $70,000 a year, on top of his monthly pension payments, officials say.
"When questioned about his failure to obtain a waiver, Sciacca allegedly supplied the retirement system with forged documents. These documents were ostensibly from the New York State Department of Education and falsely showed that waivers had been approved. Throughout his scheme, Sciacca was able to collect over $157,000 in pension payments which he was not entitled to," New York State Comptroller added in a press release.
Sciacca was arraigned in the Town of New Paltz Court. He's due back in court on July 20.