- 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.
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.
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
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.
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.