Council aide Gonzalez gets probation, restitution in benefits theft

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File photo: Nancy Gonzalez in April 2012. ( KATE McCANN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )

A City Council aide who admitted stealing almost $25,000 in Social Security benefits from an elderly, infirm Kensington woman was sentenced Thursday to four years of probation and ordered to repay the money.

Nancy Gonzalez, 54, said nothing before she was sentenced by Common Pleas Court Judge Frank Palumbo on her guilty plea from last year to eight counts involving theft of the benefits of 90-year-old Iris Galarza.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Bonner said part of Gonzalez's plea agreement and sentence required her to cooperate in the prosecution of her alleged accomplice, William Galarza, a great-nephew of the victim.

Bonner said Gonzalez was dating William Galarza at the time of the theft scheme. Gonzalez was ordered to repay $15,394, Bonner said.

William Galarza was arrested Oct. 3 and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Nov. 21 in Municipal Court.

Gonzalez was arrested in July 2012 after police officers discovered Iris Galarza living in filth and squalor in her Kensington home. Investigators later determined Gonzalez, who was the person responsible for receiving Iris Galarza's benefit checks, had been stealing the money since 2008.

Bonner said Gonzalez's cooperation helped investigators build the case against William Galarza.

At the time of her arrest, Gonzalez had been a city employee for 32 years, first as a secretary under former Council President Anna C. Verna and then under current President Darrell L. Clarke.

Among her responsibilities in the $60,000-a-year job was producing commendations and declarations for Council members.

A spokeswoman for Clarke said Gonzalez was asked to retire July 23, 2012, and was no longer employed by City Council.

 


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