Two former Troy housing officials admit defrauding retirement system

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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— Two former Troy Housing Authority employees have admitted to defrauding the retirement system by taking full pensions while continuing to work, state officials announced Monday.

William Meissner and Roger Rosenthal, ages and addresses unavailable, admitted in court Monday to defrauding the state retirement system and have repaid the system more than $63,000 in restitution.

Rosenthal retired from the authority in 2005, getting a full pension. He then went back to work as a consultant, collecting more than $200,000 over three years in addition to his pension.

When authorities questioned the validity of Rosenthal’s consulting arrangement, Rosenthal and Meissner submitted a falsified, backdated contract in an attempt to cover the illegal retirement payments.

The case began from a report produced by the state Comptroller’s Office and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is also a product of the Joint Task Force on Public Integrity, a cooperative effort between the offices of state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli that aims to root out public corruption and maximize the resources of each office, officials said.

“These men abused the public trust, defrauded the New York State Retirement System, and harmed both taxpayers and retirees,” Schneiderman said in a news release. “I applaud Comptroller DiNapoli for referring this case to our office and for his continuing work in our partnership to ensure that those who defraud taxpayers are held accountable.”

“This case is about pure greed and Mr. Rosenthal scamming the retirement system by unlawfully double-dipping to collect $63,517,” DiNapoli said in his own statement. “He and his accomplice, Mr. Meissner, were thwarted by the swift actions of my office in partnership with the HUD inspector general and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. As a result of our joint efforts, we exposed the crime and have recovered the money stolen from the retirement system.”

Rosenthal and Meissner each pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a forged instrument, a class A misdemeanor, with intent to defraud the New York State Retirement System.

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