Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bronx: A black pastor has been sentenced to two years in prison for stealing nearly $250,000 in pension payments sent to a public school teacher who died more than a decade ago

The Rev. Victor Rosa, 73, was arrested in October 2011 and charged with cashing tenant Maria Sicardo's monthly pension checks for a decade after she died in 2000. To carry out the fraud, he forged papers to prove to the Teachers' Retirement System that she was still alive and living in his building until 2010. The sentence, part of a plea deal Rosa struck with prosecutors in February 2012, included an order that the pastor pay restitution in the amount of $241,000 to the TRS and UFT Welfare Fund. Manhattan Federal Court Judge Paul Engelmayer said that he knew Rosa could not repay the money, so he also ordered Rosa to perform 250 hours of community service when he gets out of prison. "I think it important he give back in some way," said Engelmayer who noted that his mother had been a retired teacher with a TRS pension. Rosa has offered no apology for his crime.

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