The treasurer of a prominent police charity was charged Thursday in Manhattan federal court with scamming $410,000 and buying items like Barbra Streisand tickets with donations intended to go to the families of NYPD officers killed in the line of duty.
Lorraine Shanley, 68, of Staten Island, herself the wife of a deceased police officer, allegedly used the bank account and credit card of an unnamed charity — "Survivors of the Shield," which named her on a webpage — to pay $25,000 for landscaping and $8,000 for event tickets, including $1,400 on a Streisand show.
Prosecutors said she also pilfered money from the charity to fund $32,000 in dental expenses, $29,000 on a grandchild’s private school tuition — and even $63,000 to fund a son’s defense on criminal charges.
Shanley was released on a $100,000 bond after a brief court appearance.
“Lorraine Shanley allegedly capitalized on tragedy and monetized people’s generosity,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. “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.”
The government said that from 2010 to 2017, while Shanley served as volunteer treasurer at the charity, it collected $1.9 million in donations, 99 percent from 5,500 NYPD employees.
While allegedly stealing the money, she also allegedly forged the signature of another individual authorized to sign for the bank account. The fraud was discovered by a new volunteer who reviewed the charity’s tax returns, prosecutors said.
Shanley’s husband was a cop who died in 1986 of a heart condition attributed to his line of duty, but not from a combat death, police said. Her son was convicted in 2016 of leaving the scene of an accident and negligent homicide relating to a hit-and-run death, according to court records.
After the fraud charges were made public Thursday, Phil Walczak, an NYPD spokesman, said, “If true, these allegations constitute deep violation of the trust of those who generously donate to help police families going through heartbreaking tragedy.”
Shanley faces up to 32 years in prison on the bank fraud and identity theft charges.
With Anthony M. DeStefano