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The treasurer of a charity that benefits the families of New York Police Department officers who are killed in the line of duty was charged Thursday with stealing more than $410,000 from the fund.
Lorraine Shanley, 68, was charged by federal prosecutors in New York with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. She will appear Thursday in court after prosecutors said she was stealing more than 20 percent of donations to the charity between 2010 to 2017 at least.
A person with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed to NBC News that Shanley acted as the treasurer for the nonprofit Survivors of the Shield.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said that Shanley spent the money in a variety of ways — $29,000 for her grandchild’s private school tuition, $32,000 for personal dental expenses, and $25,000 for landscaping.
Shanley is also accused of using about $63,000 of the stolen money to pay for her son's legal expenses related to criminal cases, prosecutors said.
Her son was reportedly served about three years in prison on drug charges from 2006 to 2009. He was also charged in 2014 with second-degree manslaughter and leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, resulting in death after he crashed his SUV in Manhattan, killing an activist, and fled. The manslaughter charges were dropped.
She also allegedly wrote $45,000 in checks to family members and other people, which she then endorsed herself and deposited into her own account. Prosecutors said Shanley, from Staten Island, also used $1,400 of the stolen money to buy Barbra Streisand tickets and $6,600 more on other event tickets.
According to court documents, 99 percent of the donations to Survivors of the Shield come from New York police officers, and on average, 5,500 NYPD employees donate to the charity each year.
Shanley’s husband, Officer Thomas Shanley, died of a heart attack while on duty in 1986. She also serves on the board of the The New York City Police Museum, which is not officially affiliated with the NYPD and is currently closed as it relocates.
"Lorraine Shanley violated her position of trust at a charity and victimized families who have already sacrificed so much," said Jonathan D. Larsen, the acting head of the IRS' criminal investigation division.
The scheme was uncovered when a new volunteer joined the organization and reviewed the charity’s tax returns and records.
Shanley faces a maximum of 30 years in prison with two years of mandatory prison charge for the aggravated identity theft charge alone.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Phillip Walzak said of the accusations: "If true, these allegations constitute deep violation of the trust of those who generously donate to help police families going through heartbreaking tragedy."
The New York Police Department said it does not endorse any charity over any others.