Pension thief gets probation instead of prison

Jun 23, 2017

A West Seneca woman will not go to jail for collecting her dead mother's pension payments for more than 30 years.

Credit New York State & Local Retirement System

State officials say Pearlann MacVittie was sentenced Thursday to five years of probation and 300 hours of community service.

MacVittie pleaded guilty in April to grand larceny. She acknowledges stealing nearly $300,000 in benefits from the City of Buffalo Firemen's Pension Fund.

Authorities say MacVittie knew she was not entitled to the benefits after her mother, a firefighter's widow, died in 1983. However, they say she continued to sign her mother's name on yearly forms to keep the checks coming.

An audit by the state comptroller's office uncovered the fraud.