Bookkeeper Indicted for Stealing $2.6M from Estates Without Wills

By Mary Johnson on May 4, 2012 3:12pm 

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, along with the city's Department of Investigation, announced Friday that charges have been filed against four people in Brooklyn for allegedly stealing $2.6 million from the estates of those who died without wills.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, along with the city's Department of Investigation, announced Friday that charges have been filed against four people in Brooklyn for allegedly stealing $2.6 million from the estates of those who died without wills.
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Getty Images/Mario Tama

MANHATTAN — The bookkeeper for the Brooklyn public administrator’s office has been indicted for allegedly stealing more than $2.6 million from the estates of those who died without wills.

Richard Paul, 34, was busted for allegedly carrying out the calculated scheme along with three other suspects, according to charges announced Friday by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and the commissioner for the city’s Department of Investigation, Rose Gill Hearn.

"By breaching the public trust in order to line his pockets, the defendant violated his obligations to the city and to all New Yorkers," Vance said in a statement.

The public administrators in each county oversee the estates of people who die without wills. Paul’s job in the Kings County office was to funnel the assets of those who died with no known beneficiaries into the city’s Department of Finance.

But instead of sending the money to the city, Paul allegedly rerouted those checks to other, unauthorized individuals between 2008 and 2011.

Paul, who lives in Brooklyn, was charged with grand larceny and defrauding the government.

Taryn Miller, 33, and her husband, George Bethea, 34, allegedly received checks worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen funds. Ransel Sangster, 35, who has worked as an officer for the city Department of Correction and for the Department of Homeless Services, received roughly $350,000 in stolen cash, officials said.

All three were charged with grand larceny.

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