A Staten Island woman who volunteered as the treasurer for a charity that helps the families of NYPD officers who died in the line of duty is accused of pilfering $410,000 from the nonprofit, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.
Lorraine Shanley, 68, allegedly used the money she stole from the charity, identified in records as Survivors of the Shield, for personal expenses that ranged from paying $29,000 toward her grandchild’s private school tuition to covering $63,000 in legal expenses related to criminal charges against her son.
“Lorraine Shanley allegedly capitalized on tragedy and monetized people’s generosity," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement announcing the charges Thursday. "As alleged, Shanley stole over 20 percent of the donations to a charity whose sole mission is to help the families of NYPD officers killed in the line of duty."
Shanley is the wife of a deceased police officer. Her husband was a cop who died in 1986 of a heart condition attributed to his line of duty, but not from a combat death, police said.
As treasurer, Shanley had access to the charity’s bank account and credit card, and used that power for her own benefit, according to the complaint.
She’s accused of writing checks to her family members and cashing double endorsed checks to her own accounts – a total of $45,000 in donations. Another $32,000 was spent on personal dental work, $25,000 on landscaping at her home and $8,000 on tickets to events, per the complaint.
Federal officials estimate the alleged illegal activity took place at least from 2010 to 2017. The missing donations were discovered when another volunteer reviewed the charity’s tax returns and records, according to the complaint.
“As alleged in the complaint, Lorraine Shanley violated her position of trust at a charity and victimized families who have already sacrificed so much," IRS-CI acting special agent in charge Jonathan D. Larsen said in a statement. "IRS-CI is committed to following the money and investigating those individuals who steal from charities for their own personal gain.”
Shanley, who surrendered to federal authorities Thursday morning, faces charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. She was released on a $100,000 bond after a brief court appearance.