Ex-Clerk Charged with Stealing nearly $800K from NY Pension Fund

Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau announced that Indera Vieira was indicted on July 9 for allegedly stealing $789,000 from the benefit fund she previously worked for.  The $6.5 bil. benefit fund is jointly run by Local 1199 of the Serv. Employees Intl. Union and the hospitals for whom their employees work.


A clerk in the fund’s pension processing and reconciliation dept., Vieira reportedly began her theft in 1995.  Using unsuspecting co-wrkrs., Vieira gained access to the accounting system, and began using dozens of social sec. numbers along with fictitious names to withdraw money from the benefit fund.  According to Morgenthau, Vieira kept $581,000 for herself, sent $81,000 to a cousin, $11,000 to a family friend and $47,000 to her boyfriend.  She also deposited $37,000 into a bank acct. her cousin opened for her, and $22,000 into an acct. for her mother-in-law.


Last Oct., the union’s bank notified it of suspicious deposits and missing funds.  Union officials hired the security firm, Kroll, Inc., which uncovered the alleged embezzlement.  No one should have had as much access to the system as Vieira had, said the benefit fund’s exec. director, Mitra Behroozi, “but she was able to win the confidence [of] people at different points along the way.”  Since the loss was discovered, a director has resigned, and an asst. director in Vieira’s dept. has been fired.  Vieira has not worked for the benefit fund since Oct.  She has pled not guilty, and is being held on $1 mil. bail. [New York Sun, 7/12/04]