An NYPD officer and his wife are accused of stealing his dead mother’s identity and using it in order to collect over $88,000 in social security and pension benefits, among other crimes, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Tuesday.
Edward St. Hill, a 16-year veteran of the NYPD who was assigned to the 71st Precinct in Brooklyn, and his wife, Maria Ramos, were charged on Thursday in a 101-count indictment related to several crimes, per Gonzalez’s office. In addition to the benefits scheme, the couple is accused of using St. Hill’s mothers identity to illegally sell her home for $260,000 and trying to collect an additional $160,000 in insurance annuities.
“These defendants, a police officer and his wife, allegedly took advantage of his own mother’s death to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars to which they were not entitled,” Gonzalez said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “This greedy and macabre conduct is even more egregious because police officers take an oath to uphold the law.”
According to the indictment, after St. Hill’s mother, Germain St. Hill, passed away on June 4, 2016, a death certificate with the wrong social security number was created and the couple never corrected the mistake. Instead, they continued to maintain her finances as if she was still alive and, on numerous occasions, Ramos impersonated her mother-in-law during phone calls with Social Security and pension fund workers, per the indictment.
The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau caught wind of the couple’s various schemes after Ramos and St. Hill tried to steal $160,000 from MetLife Insurance Company and in the process submitted a forged NYPD arrest report as well as several letters with official NYPD letterhead to the insurer, according to the indictment. MetLife contacted the NYPD, which then began an internal investigation in partnership with Gonzalez’s office.
The pair also refilled Germain St. Hill’s Percocet prescription 14 times after she died, according to the district attorney’s office.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said on Tuesday that St. Hill’s actions tarnished the NYPD’s reputation.
“Police officers swear an oath to hold themselves accountable to the highest standards of ethics and integrity,” O’Neill said. “And when they intentionally violate that promise, they tarnish the reputation of all good cops — making their jobs much more difficult — and erode the trust we have worked so hard to earn in all of our communities.”
St. Hill, 52, and Ramos, 45, face a slew of charges including criminal possession of a controlled substance, grand larceny, identity theft, forgery and money laundering. St. Hill was also charged with official misconduct.
Ramos and St. Hill, both of Marine Park, are due back in court on Nov. 7. If convicted on the top charge, they each face up to 25 years in prison.
St. Hill’s arrest comes less than a week after seven active NYPD members and a former Vice detective were charged in connection with a massive prostitution ring and illegal lottery operation.