A local woman admitted to stealing pension money intended for another person, according to state and county officials who investigated the matter.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Ontario County District Attorney James Ritts announced this week that Becky Smith Shaver pleaded guilty to grand larceny for stealing over $2,000 in pension payments from the New York State and Local Retirement System intended for retiree Gary Banas.
“Ms. Smith Shaver tried to take advantage of the New York State pension system by stealing from a friend after his death. Now, she is being held accountable for her actions. I am committed to safeguarding the New York State and Local Retirement System, its members and taxpayers,” DiNapoli said. “Thanks to our partnership with Ontario County District Attorney James Ritts and Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson, we were able to stop this fraud.”
For over 30 years, Banas worked for the City of Tonawanda Public Works Department. He died in December 2019. Smith Shaver, 61 of Honeoye, identified herself as Banas’ friend and was the joint holder on his bank account. Following Banas’ death, Smith Shaver withdrew his NYSLRS pension payment of $2,076 and his Veterans Affairs benefit of $3,216. She closed the joint account after the withdrawals. Smith Shaver was not entitled to Banas’ retirement check or his Veterans Affairs benefit.
Smith Shaver pled guilty to grand larceny in the third degree and has been placed on one year of interim probation. During this time, she is ordered to pay $2,076.17 to the NYSLRS, $3,216.35 to Veterans Affairs and restitution to the pensioner’s estate.
She is due back in court for sentencing on June 2, 2022.
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