ALBANY _ A Florida man was convicted Friday of collecting his dead brother’s state pension checks totaling more than $180,000 over seven years, state officials said.
Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said Robert J. Schusteritsch, 71, of Port Charlotte, Florida, pleaded guilty to felony grand larceny and misdemeanor criminal impersonation of his brother, Martin Petschaeur, who lived in Queens before relocating to Port Charlotte, Florida. He was sentenced to six months in jail and five years’ probation, the officials said. Schusteritsch also signed a confession of judgment in the amount of $180,140, which allows the state pension system directed by DiNapoli to try recover.
“Today’s sentencing of Mr. Schusteritsch proves once again that stealing from New York State’s pension system is risky business,” DiNapoli said.
“Those who illegally obtain pension funds intended for someone else do so at the expense of hardworking New Yorkers who rely on their pension for a secure retirement,” Schneiderman said.
The officials said Schusteritsch hid his brother’s 2008 death from the bank and the pension system, which sent the pension checks to Florida through direct deposit to the bank.
DiNapoli said the pension system detected the problem in 2015 and stopped the pension payments. Schusteritsch then called the comptroller’s office and pretended to be his brother “and asserted that he was not actually dead.”