Police officers give so much of their lives to the community. They risk their lives every day by walking voluntarily into dangerous situations to protect members of the public, and for some of them, it literally costs them their lives. For their families, it’s a devastating blow they will never fully recover from, and one that leaves many of them in financial straits.
As a result, there are plenty of nonprofit funds set up to help the families should something happen to officers. But not everyone is as grateful to the men and women in blue. Lorraine Shanley, a volunteer treasurer for the Survivors of the Shield organization that was set up to help the families of New York Police Department officers, was arrested this week after it was alleged she had been stealing from the nonprofit, according to ABC News.
Federal prosecutors say Shanley stole “20 percent of the donations to the organization,” amounting to over $400,000 in total. She has been charged with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft for rerouting funds from the foundation into her own personal account.
The criminal complaint stated that Shanley pulled off her scheme by “forging the signature of another authorized signatory of the charity’s checks, double endorsing the charity’s checks and cashing and depositing them into her own personal accounts, writing unauthorized checks and making unauthorized checking account payments to pay for personal expenses and to distribute money to herself and family members.”
It’s already known what Shanley decided to spend her newly found fortune on — tuition for her grandson’s private school, personal home improvements, and tickets to a Barbra Streisand concert for herself.
Although Shanley was only arrested on Thursday, her volunteer time for the Survivors of the Shield foundation actually spanned from 2010 to 2017. It’s estimated that during that time, the foundation was paid almost $2 million in donations.
“Lorraine Shanley violated her position of trust at a charity and victimized families who have already sacrificed so much,” said IRS-CI acting special agent in charge Jonathan Larsen.
If found guilty on the charges she is facing, Shanley could face up to 30 years in prison, which, at the age of 68, could mean she would spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Ironically, according to The New York Times, Shanley herself is actually the widow of a fallen NYPD officer. Apparently, despite having been in the same situation herself, the above reports allege that she took money that was clearly meant to help others suffering through the pain of losing a spouse.