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Woman gets probation for cashing $291,070 in dead mother's pension checks

A West Seneca woman was sentenced Thursday to five years' probation and 300 hours of community service for stealing $291,070 by cashing pension checks mailed to her mother for 33 years after her mother's death.

Pearlann MacVittie, 73, pleaded guilty April 6 before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth F. Case to third-degree grand larceny, a felony, according to the New York State Comptroller's Office.

As the widow of a Buffalo fireman, Lola Martin, MacVittie's mother, was eligible to receive his Firemen's Pension Fund benefit from the City of Buffalo during her lifetime. When her mother died in 1983, MacVittie failed to notify the pension fund.

West Seneca woman cashed dead mother's pension checks for 33 years

From October 1983 to May 2016 MacVittie cashed monthly checks that increased from $325 to $935, and she shakily signed her mother's name on yearly pension forms to make it seem like it was signed by an older person.

The theft was uncovered through an audit by the state comptroller's staff.


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