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Retired NYPD lieutenant charged with stealing nearly $140K in Social Security benefits intended for his kids

2019-08-29

Retired NYPD lieutenant Michael Conway (left, wearing sunglasses) was charged on Wednesday for stealing nearly $140,000 from the Social Security Administration earmarked for his children over the course of about 10 years. He's pictured here on the far left in blue, accompanied by his sister Kathleen and an unidentified man on the far right in black. (Mikey Light/for New York Daily News)

Call him one of New York’s dodgiest.

Retired NYPD lieutenant Michael Conway was charged on Wednesday for stealing nearly $140,000 from the Social Security Administration earmarked for his children — one of whom is disabled — over the course of about 10 years.

Conway, 60, of Queens was hit with wire fraud charges for filching the funds between August 2009 and September 2018 — money intended for his two minor children through auxiliary benefits provided by Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance (RSDI) program administered by the SSA, prosecutors charged.

The accused crook appeared before Judge James Orenstein Wednesday at Brooklyn Federal Court wearing blue jeans and a short-sleeved blue collared shirt. His attorney, Stephen Greenfield, told the court that Conway had surrendered his firearms to the NYPD.

The ex-lieutenant, who was accompanied by his sister, Kathleen Conway, was released on $200,000 bond. Conway, his sister and his lawyer all declined to comment on the charges — though Greenfield said his client has “sufficient means” to put up the cash, adding that the disgraced cop owns a swanky Long Island brownstone.

Conway had first qualified in May 2009 to receive RSDI benefits for a work-related injury, according to the complaint. Conway later applied for auxiliary benefits on behalf of his then 8-year-old fraternal twins, falsely claiming that the kids lived with him in Queens and that they did not receive financial support from other relatives.

The SSA approved the application and granted Conway’s request to manage the funds, which he has been hoarding for himself ever since, prosecutors said.

“The defendant committed a fraud on his family and SSA by unlawfully collecting and keeping funds that had been provided for the care of his children based on false statements he made to the government,” said prosecutor Richard Donoghue.

According to the complaint, Conway’s alleged scheme was up in September 2018 when his then 17-year-old son, who is legally blind, went to apply for Supplemental Security Income benefits through SSA, a program for individuals with disabilities.

That’s when the teen, who was accompanied by his mother, learned SSA had been paying benefits to the twins since 2007. The mother — who prosecutors say did not know about the fraud — told SSA she was awarded custody of the kids in 2002, noting that they had never lived with Conway.

After a review of SSA and Citibank records, SSA Special Agent Nicholas Yannazzo concluded that the ex-lieutenant pocketed $138,016.60 in SSA benefits intended for the children, the complaint says.

“This arrest should serve as a warning to those who choose to defraud Social Security’s disability programs,” SSA Inspector General Gail Ennis said in a statement. “We vigorously pursue fraud allegations, and work with United States Attorney’s Offices across the country to bring offenders to justice.”

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