HALFMOON – A Halfmoon woman has been arrested, accused of stealing nearly $13,000 of her deceased mother’s pension benefits, the state comptroller’s office said Thursday.
Christmas Fish, 55, of Halfmoon, was arrested last week and charged with one count of third-degree grand larceny, a felony, officials said.
Fish is accused of hiding her mother’s death to divert her mother’s pension benefits to benefit herself, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said in a statement.
Fish allegedly used the money to pay for ride share services, food deliveries and housing payments, among other things, DiNapoli said.
Fish’s mother, identified as Georgia Maniscalco, retired in 2013 and died Jan. 28, 2021 at Fish’s home, officials said.
The state and local retirement system, however, did not learn of Maniscalco’s death until six months later, leading to six pension payments being paid after her death, officials said. The payments totaled $12,797. Maniscalco was the sole account holder and had a debit card in her name.
After Maniscalco’s death, Fish allegedly accessed her deceased mother’s bank account using her debit card to make personal purchases, officials said.
“Thanks to the work of my Division of Investigations, the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office, the New York State Police and the Department of Motor Vehicles, she will be brought to justice,” DiNapoli said in his statement. “My office will continue to protect the pension system from fraud.”
Fish was arraigned and released to return to court next month.