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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information:
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August 21, 2009  

Division of Criminal Justice
609-292-4791

Office of The Attorney General
- Anne Milgram, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Deborah L. Gramiccioni, Director
Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
- Riza Dagli, Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

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Bayonne Woman Sentenced for Continuing to Cash Companion’s Annuity Checks for More Than 11 Years After His Death

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TRENTON - Attorney General Anne Milgram and Division of Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni announced that a Bayonne woman was sentenced today for stealing more than $37,000 in annuity checks to which she was not entitled.

According to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Riza Dagli, Barbara Polak, 64, of Bayonne, was ordered by Superior Court Judge Michael L. Ravin in Hudson County to serve two years probation and to pay $37,805 in restitution. The sentence was based on Polak’s July 10 guilty plea to an accusation which charged her with theft by deception.

In pleading guilty, Polak admitted that between May 1, 1996 and Dec. 1, 2007, she stole $37,805 from the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equity Fund. Polak’s companion, Edward Udut, had been collecting monthly annuity checks from TIA-CREF since 1988. Under the terms of the annuity, all benefits were to stop at the time of Udut’s death.

In March 1996, Polak submitted documentation to the TIAA-CREF granting her Power of Attorney for Udut. As a result, checks that were sent to Udut were made payable to “Edward Udot c/o Barbara Polak.” An investigation determined that Polak failed to notify the TIAA-CREF of Udut’s death on April 10, 1996, and subsequently cashed 140 checks – one each month for more than 11 years.

Detective Andrea Hayes coordinated the investigation. Deputy Attorney General James F. Flanagan prosecuted the case and represented the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the sentencing. This case was referred to OIFP by Internal Investigations of TIAA-CREF, which initially uncovered the fraud and assisted OIFP in the investigation. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Dagli thanked TIAA-CREF for its assistance in this matter.

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