A Staten Island woman nervously stammered through her guilty plea Friday as she copped to stealing $406,000 from a charity for slain NYPD officers, saying “I wrote these checks, I think two of them or whatever, and it was considered fraud.”
At sentencing, Lorraine Shanley, 69, faces more than two years in prison for her dastardly crime, federal guidelines say.
While serving as volunteer PR director for Survivors of the Shield, Shanley dipped into the charity’s coffers and spent the money on her special needs grandchild, she said.
“I’ve had family issues. Hardship,” she said.
“It wasn’t for a new car, a new home. It was for for my special needs grandchild.”
As part of her plea, Shanley agreed to repay the money she stole and pay the IRS $103,983.
Prosecutors say Shanley splurged on personal expenses, including her son’s legal bills, her grandchild’s private school tuition, dentistry, landscaping for her home and Barbra Streisand tickets. The scam lasted from 2010 to 2017.
“You knew it was wrong. You knew it was illegal. You felt it was justified because of your special needs grandchild?” Judge Sidney Stein asked in Manhattan Federal Court.
“Yes,” Shanley replied, admitting she also misused the charity’s credit card.
Shanley’s husband, Officer Thomas Shanley, died of a heart attack on the job in 1986.
“There was a major part of these checks to help my children. As a widow I thought I could do it. They said no,” Shanley said.
The vast majority of the Survivors of the Shield’s donations come from NYPD employees.
“As she admitted today, Lorraine Shanley exploited the NYPD officers and employees who generously made charitable donations to support the survivors of fallen officers," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.