Former Bethel tax collector arrested for suspected retirement fraud

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and New York State Police have announced the 15th of July the arrest of Debra Gabriel, the former tax collector of the city of Bethel, for allegedly stealing unearned benefits from the state pension fund.

Gabriel, who resigned from his civil service and retired in August 2020, reportedly submitted a false statement of activities (ROA) to the city for filing with the state comptroller. ROAs are documents in which certain officials must record their working hours to determine whether they are full-time or part-time. The information is used to calculate their time of service for retirement benefits.

“Debra Gabriel allegedly defrauded the pension system by lying about the hours she worked. Now she has to face the consequences of her actions, ”said DiNapoli. “I am committed to protecting our public pension system, its members and taxpayers against fraud and abuse. I thank the New York State Police and Sullivan County District Attorney Meagan Galligan for helping bring Gabriel to justice.

New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “This arrest demonstrates the hard work of our law enforcement partners focused on the same goal of holding those who break our laws. for responsible. The victims in this case are the people of New York who trusted this former employee of the city. I commend and thank our partners in the State Comptroller’s Office and the Sullivan County Attorney’s Office for their commitment to investigating those who prey on the unsuspecting public for their own gain.

DiNapoli said an investigation into Gabriel’s ROA found that from April 1, 2009 to August 31, 2019, she falsely claimed credit for a full-time job for the city when her actual hours were much lower. For example, in 2018 and 2019, she had a full-time job at a private healthcare company, while claiming to have also worked full-time as a tax collector for Bethel. His claims falsely increased his service credit toward retirement by more than seven years, according to DiNapoli.

As a result, it is alleged that Gabriel’s monthly benefit was falsely inflated by $ 290 each month from the time of her retirement on August 31, 2019 until June 30, 2021 and that she received $ 6,300 in which she did not. was not entitled.

Gabriel faces charges of Third Degree Grand Theft, Third Degree Government Corruption, Pension System Fraud, and offering a bogus first degree filing instrument.

The laying of criminal charges is only one charge. All people are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court.


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Esther L. Steinbach

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