Texas Woman Indicted for Stealing Over $65,000 in New York State Pension Payments Meant for Deceased Acquaintance

Chris Potter / CC BY 2.0

Albany, NY (WNY News Now)- State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has announced the indictment of a 53-year-old Texas woman for allegedly embezzling more than $65,000 in New York state pension payments intended for a deceased acquaintance. Christy Gibson, a resident of Smith County, Texas, was charged with one count of theft following an investigation conducted by DiNapoli’s office.

According to the Comptroller’s statement, Gibson went to great lengths to conceal the death of her acquaintance, in order to illicitly enrich herself. The scheme involved the manipulation of pension payments belonging to William H. Walsh Jr., who retired from the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision in 1986. William Walsh had chosen a reduced monthly retirement benefit to ensure his wife, Mary L. Walsh, continued to receive payments if he passed away before her.

William Walsh passed away in October 2005, and Mary Walsh followed in December 2012. At the time of Mary Walsh’s death, the pension payments were supposed to cease. However, the New York state retirement system was never informed about her passing.

In May 2013, the retirement system received information raising suspicions about Mary Walsh’s death, leading to a temporary halt in pension payments. However, in June of the same year, the system received what seemed to be a notarized verification from Mary Walsh herself, falsely indicating she was still alive. Consequently, the pension payments were reinstated.

A subsequent investigation carried out by the State Comptroller’s Office revealed that Mary Walsh had indeed passed away, and the verification submitted was a fraudulent document.

The investigation further discovered that a joint account, under the names of both Mary Walsh and Christy Gibson, had been opened in 2011, into which the erroneous pension payments were deposited. Shockingly, Gibson never reported Mary Walsh’s demise or removed her name from the account. It came to light that Gibson was acquainted with Mary Walsh through her sister-in-law and had worked at the nursing home where Walsh resided in her final days.

DiNapoli’s investigators unraveled how Gibson misused the joint account funds, diverting them towards personal expenses such as entertainment and food. Moreover, electronic transfers and cash withdrawals were also traced back to Gibson.

As a result of the compelling evidence gathered during the investigation, Christy Gibson was indicted in the 114th District Court of Smith County, Texas, on one count of theft. The date set for her arraignment is August 7, and she will appear before Judge Austin Reve Jackson.


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