Widow accused of stealing more than $400,000 from charity that helps families of fallen officers

A 68-year-old Staten Island woman allegedly stole more than $400,000 from a charity meant to help families of slain officers — despite being a New York Police Department (NYPD) widow herself. Lorraine Shanley is accused of using the money on landscaping services, her son’s legal fees, Barbara Streisand tickets and more.

Shanley was a volunteer treasurer for the nonprofit Survivors of the Shield from 2010 to 2017. During those seven years, she used checks and a credit card from the charity’s bank account for her own personal gain, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York.

“Lorraine Shanley allegedly capitalized on tragedy and monetized people’s generosity. As alleged, Shanley stole over 20 percent of the donations to a charity whose sole mission is to help the families of NYPD officers killed in the line of duty,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said.

The criminal complaint lists the following examples of Shanley’s extravagant spending:

  • Wrote at least $45,000 in checks that were either payable to family members, or that were made out to other people but which Shanley double endorsed and deposited into her own accounts

  • Paid approximately $29,000 for her grandchild’s private school tuition

  • Paid approximately $63,000 for legal services and expenses related to criminal charges against Shanley’s son

  • Paid approximately $32,000 for personal dental expenses and approximately $25,000 for landscaping on her personal residence

  • Purchased over $8,000 in event tickets, including over $1,400 for Barbara Streisand concert tickets.

Shanley, whose husband died of a heart condition, could face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. After appearing in court on Thursday, she was released on a $100,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in federal court next month, CBS 2 reports.

Survivors of the Shield released the following statement on Facebook:

We are deeply saddened that the person arrested betrayed the trust placed in them by this organization and so many others. Representatives of Survivors of the Shield contacted the U.S. Department ofJustice after potential financial improprieties were uncovered. The Board has been working with the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. Survivors of the Shield was founded in 1988 and continues to lend support and assistance to the families of police officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duty.”

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