Retirement Board Recovering Funds

The Chelsea Retirement Board is looking to modify its procedures in checking deaths after a $7,000 fraud was discovered last October.

A Revere woman allegedly had forged documents and checks after her grandfather had passed away so she could allegedly continue collecting retirement benefits from the Board.

Board Chair Joe Siewko said the Board would begin requiring notarization of annual affidavits that are routinely sent out, and that it would likely subscribe to a comprehensive database that lists obituaries and deaths.

“We had a retiree that passed away and checks continued to be cashed when we sent them out,” he said. “The granddaughter apparently was cashing them. We found out because we send out notifications for people to sign. We might start requiring those to be notarized now.”

He said the Board is working with two banks to recover the money.

Revere Police said they have charged Darlene Velez, 38, of Revere, with larceny of property and forgery.

The investigation is still ongoing though, they said.

Police said the granddaughter had convinced a friend – who was not in on the scheme and hasn’t been charged – to cash the checks and hand over the proceeds to her. She had told the friend she didn’t have a bank account, so she couldn’t cash the checks.

“It’s something that happens, but we stopped it,” Siewko said. “We found out in October and immediately put a stop to the checks.”

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