Troy, NY - March 17, 2014 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today that William Meissner and Roger Rosenthal, former Troy Housing Authority employees, pled guilty to defrauding the New York State Retirement System (NYSRS). Rosenthal retired from the Troy Housing Authority in 2005 and began collecting a full pension with the NYSRS, then went back to working as a supposed ‘consultant’ with the Authority, collecting more than $200,000 in a three-year period in addition to the pension. When the validity of Rosenthal’s ‘consulting’ arrangement with the Housing Authority was questioned, Rosenthal and Meissner submitted a falsified, backdated contract in an effort to cover the illegal retirement payments. As part of today’s plea agreement, Meissner and Rosenthal have paid New York State Retirement System $63,517.41 in restitution.
The case stems from a report produced jointly by the State Comptroller’s office and the U.S. Housing and Urban Development - Office of Inspector General and is a product of the Joint Task Force on Public Integrity, a cooperative effort between the offices of Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas P DiNapoli that seeks to root out public corruption and maximize the resources of each office.
“These men abused the public trust, defrauded the New York State Retirement System, and harmed both taxpayers and retirees,” said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “I applaud Comptroller DiNapoli for referring this case to our office and for his continuing work in our partnership to ensure that those who defraud taxpayers are held accountable.”
“This case is about pure greed and Mr. Rosenthal scamming the retirement system by unlawfully double-dipping to collect $63,517,” State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said. “He and his accomplice, Mr. Meissner, were thwarted by the swift actions of my office in partnership with the HUD Inspector General and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. As a result of our joint efforts, we exposed the crime and have recovered the money stolen from the retirement system.”
“The arrests and charges today of Mr. Rosenthal and Mr. Meissner serve to remind the taxpayer that law enforcement will continue to pursue corruption, in all forms, especially those that impact the integrity of housing authorities overseen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is especially disappointing to learn that Mr. Rosenthal and Mr. Meissner used their positions with the Troy Housing Authority to facilitate their greed while the public reeled from the economic challenges of that time. We wish to thank the New York State Comptroller's Office and the New York State Attorney General's Office for their perseverance and steadfast efforts in ensuring a just conclusion to this matter,” said Christina Scaringi, Special Agent in Charge, Northeast Region, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Office of Inspector General.
Rosenthal and Meissner entered guilty pleas to Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument, a class A misdemeanor, with intent to defraud the New York State Retirement System.
This matter was handled by Colleen Glavin and Stacy Aronowitz of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau. The Bureau is part of the Criminal Justice Division, led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan.