THE LAST of six former city workers who had been collecting pension checks for years after being convicted of felonies was officially cut off yesterday.
The city Board of Pensions and Retirement voted to disqualify former Police Officer Tyrone Wiggins, who had taught karate on the side and who was convicted in March of sexually abusing one of his students for six years beginning when she was 12. She is now a city cop.
He was sentenced to 17 1/2 to 35 years on March 25 and has been drawing a pension of $3,004.84 a month since then.
All told, six of the eight former city workers and convicted felons identified in a July investigation by the Daily News pocketed at least $837,932 in pensions.
That sum represents the amount of money they received between the time they were found guilty of crimes requiring forfeiture of their pensions and when they were disqualified. The employees should have been entitled to no more than $183,858, the value of their own contributions.
The city's pension law provides that once a public employee commits certain crimes or malfeasance related to employment, the worker must forfeit his or her pension.
Two other former cops convicted of felonies - Daniel Castro and Adrian Makuch - have been receiving pension benefits since their convictions but were not disqualified because city lawyers determined that their crimes did not involve their public office.
After the Daily News report, city officials pledged to monitor federal and state court pleadings more closely so that city workers convicted of pension-disqualifying crimes wouldn't slip through the cracks.
In other pension-related news yesterday, the board voted to reinstate the pension benefits of former city tax assessor James F. Lynch.
Lynch pleaded guilty to honest-services conspiracy in September 2007 in connection with not disclosing a $20,000 cash payment he received as a "thank-you present" from developer James F. Campenella.
A federal judge threw out their convictions in September. Both men benefitted from a Supreme Court ruling last year that narrowed the scope of the honest-services law.
Lynch will receive a lump-sum payment of $175,529 retroactive to February 2008 and a monthly check of $3,819 going forward, city officials said.