Thursday, April 03, 2008

Attorney General Cuomo Calls School Attorney Pensions "FRAUD"

So what of Nassau County Legislator Nicolello. He didn't start collecting but he was earning credits for a state pension and was listed as a full-time employee of the school district.

Sandra Peddie and Eden Lakin are on the public corruption front lines with their great reporting "New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo Thursday night said his office believes that "multiple acts of fraud" were committed when Long Island school districts put private attorneys on their payrolls so that the attorneys could receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in state pensions.

In a statement, Cuomo spokesman John Milgrim said, "We do not believe this is merely a case of innocent mistakes or misunderstandings of the relevant regulations. We have reason to believe there have been long-term and multiple acts of frauds committed upon the state pension system and related to intentional misclassification of contractors as employees so they receive taxpayer funded benefits."
Milgrim also said that the attorney general's office is now expanding its investigation of these practices from school districts and special districts to include towns and villages statewide.
In a separate action Thursday, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli moved to recoup all pension money awarded to private attorneys who were improperly reported as public employees, his office announced Thursday.
The comptroller also will require local governments and school districts throughout the state to re-certify any professional person on a payroll who does not appear to be an employee.
"Pensions are for employees," DiNapoli said. "They earn their pensions and they deserve them. Unfortunately, some individuals have taken advantage of the retirement system and received benefits they were not entitled to."
"Also Thursday, Nassau County Comptroller Howard Weitzman urged both state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice to investigate the case of Valley Stream real estate lawyer Albert D'Agostino. Milgrim told Newsday Thursday night that his office is investigating D'Agostino. Newsday reported Thursday that D'Agostino got retroactive credit for 21 years in the state pension system, even though he was paid as an independent contractor all those years. Those credits helped him secure an annual pension of $106,702 for life."

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