A volunteer treasurer for a charity benefiting the families of fallen New York City police officers was charged Thursday with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the nonprofit organization to pay for personal expenses. Lorraine Shanley, 68, of Staten Island, is charged with bank fraud and identity theft, accused of pocketing more than $410,000 from Survivors of the Shield, CBS New York reported.
According to the criminal complaint, Shanley managed the charity's finances between 2010 and 2017. During that time period, the charity received approximately $1.9 million in donations, over 99 percent of which came from New York Police Department employees, officials said.
"Lorraine Shanley allegedly capitalized on tragedy and monetized people's generosity," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. "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 allegedly stole the money to pay for dental expenses, landscaping services, parking and traffic tickets and even Barbara Streisand concert tickets. She is also accused of taking $63,000 to pay for her son's legal fees in a criminal case and nearly $29,000 to pay for her grandson's private school tuition.
The fraud was finally uncovered by a new volunteer treasurer who reviewed the charity's tax returns and records as part of an effort to modernize the charity's operations, officials said.
"Representatives of Survivors of the Shield contacted the U.S. Department of Justice after potential financial improprieties were uncovered. The Board has been working with the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York," the post continued.
A neighbor of Stanley told CBS New York that he didn't notice anything lavish about her lifestyle.
"Nothing, not nice cars, nothing really. Nothing to see that she has $400,000 to just throw away. It looks like a normal family," Joe Palacino said. "Good people. She got caught in something that she probably realized she didn't mean to, you know, in the end."
Shanley is an NYPD widow. Her late husband died of a heart condition.
She was released on $100,000 bond and is due back in federal court next month.
If found guilty, Shanley would face a maximum of 32 years in prison.