Attorney General Files Agreement to
Revoke Pension of Former Winchester Finance Director
Under an agreement filed in Hartford Superior Court today, the former finance director for the town of Winchester who pleaded guilty to multiple felony larceny charges for stealing at least $2 million from the town will have his pension revoked, Attorney General George Jepsen said today.
Henry L. Centrella, Jr., who was employed by the town from 1977 through 2013, has signed a stipulation for judgment agreeing to the revocation of his pension. Upon approval of the court, his pension benefits will be revoked.
Centralla's projected pension benefit is approximately $34,380 annually. In addition to the pension revocation, Centrella has agreed to a court order that pension contributions he paid into the pension fund, without interest, will be applied to any restitution order entered in his criminal matter. Centrella's employee contributions totaled approximately $92,000.
"Theft from a municipality or the state is a serious violation of the public trust and, in this particular case, the actions of one individual created significant hardship for the town and its residents," said Attorney General Jepsen. "In 2008, the General Assembly granted my office authority to seek a pension revocation or reduction from a state or municipal official convicted of a felony in connection with their public position. This settlement revokes Mr. Centrella's pension in full, provides partial restitution to his victims and guarantees that taxpayers will not be on the hook for the pension of someone guilty of stealing public funds."
Centrella pleaded guilty to five counts of larceny in the first degree in January. Earlier this month, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison and five years' probation. Attorney General Jepsen praised State's Attorney David Shepack for his prosecution of the criminal case.
Under state statute enacted in 2008, the Attorney General is authorized to initiate a civil action seeking reduction or revocation of the pension of any state or municipal official who, in state or federal court, is convicted of or pleads guilty to a crime related to their state or municipal office on or after October 1, 2008.
Any state or municipal official convicted on corruption-related charges – defined specifically in the law as embezzling public funds; committing felony theft from the state; bribery in connection with one's service as a state or municipal employee; or committing a felony with intent to defraud in order to obtain a profit, gain or advantage for themselves or someone else – could face court action to reduce or revoke their pension.
Jaclyn M. Falkowski