NYC police charity treasurer charged with $400,000 theft

NEW YORK (AP) - A volunteer treasurer for a charity benefiting the families of fallen New York City police officers was charged Thursday with raiding its coffers to pay for personal expenses like dental work and tickets to a Barbra Streisand show.

Bank fraud and identity theft charges filed in federal court in Manhattan accuse Lorraine Shanley of stealing more than $400,000 from Survivors of the Shield, a nonprofit devoted to helping the families of NYPD officers who die in the line of duty.

Shanley, 68, of Staten Island, "allegedly capitalized on tragedy and monetized people's generosity," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement announcing the charges.

There was no immediate response on Thursday to a phone message seeking comment from Shanley's attorney.

Prosecutors allege that Shanley used the checks and a credit card from the group's bank account to go on her spending spree. The complaint says it included $63,000 for legal services and expenses related to a criminal case against her son, $45,000 in checks written to family members and others and $32,000 for dental work.

Another $29,000 was used to pay the private school tuition of a grandchild, $25,000 for landscaping at her home and $8,000 for concerts, including $1,400 for the Streisand show.

During the scheme from 2010 to 2017, the charity received about $1.9 million in donations, over 99 percent of it in donations from NYPD employees, authorities said. The fraud was finally uncovered by a new treasurer who was trying to update the group's accounting system, they said.

Shanley's son was arrested in 2014 in a hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian in Manhattan, according to press reports at the time. His father, police Officer Thomas Shanley, died of a heart attack while on the job in July 1986, the reports said.

The identity theft charge against Shanley carries a mandatory minimum penalty of two years in prison. The bank fraud charge has a maximum of 30 years, though the term could be much lower under sentencing guidelines.