- Associated Press - Monday, April 14, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A former town finance director who stole more than $2 million from Winchester will not be collecting his pension.

Henry Centrella Jr., who was sentenced earlier this month to 11 years in prison, has agreed to the revocation of the pension that would have paid him about $34,000 annually.

The revocation was sought by Attorney General George Jepsen, who is authorized to seek changes to pensions of public officials convicted of crimes related to their jobs. The order agreed to Friday by Centrella also calls for the $92,000 that he paid into the pension fund to go toward restitution.

Any theft from the government is a violation of public trust and Centrella’s actions caused significant hardship for Winchester, Jepsen said Monday.

“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,” Jepsen said.

Centrella pleaded guilty in January to five counts of first-degree larceny. Centrella had worked for Winchester since 1977 and was finance director from 1982 until his firing last year. His attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Authorities say Centrella and his wife had gambling losses of more than $500,000 from 2008 through 2012, citing records from casinos including Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods.

Centrella also was sending about $1,000 per month to a woman in Florida he had met at a casino, according to his arrest affidavit. The woman told authorities Centrella said he was divorced and they became engaged in 2009. Investigators said the couple looked at houses in Florida priced up to $1 million, with Centrella claiming he acquired cash from selling land to Disney World and through Google stock.


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