NYPD officer, removed his estranged wife as the beneficiary of his $810,000 pension benefits plan and gave his estate to his police lieutenant lover before killing himself
Mike Smith, a community affairs officer with the NY police, shooting himelf in the head in his Manhattan Beach apt on March 7, 2017
22-year police veteran Michael Gerard Smith did so while his girlfriend – Lt. Zoya Golubeva, 38, was breaking up with him
Smith at the time was living apart from his estranged wife of 14 years, Elizabeth Ann Morehouse, and Golubeva had been living in with him
The 48-year-old removed his wife from NYC Police Pension Fund just 11 months before killing himself
Legally Morehouse can seek to collect a third of the benefits, however, under state laws that do protect disinherited spouses
She has filed a ‘right of election’ claim to the amount, around, approximately $270,000
Mike Smith, a community affairs officer with the department, killed himself in his Manhattan Beach apartment on March 7, 2017
An NYPD officer who decided to replace his wife with his lover as the beneficiary of his wife in his death-benefit months before committing suicide, created a standoff pitting the two women in a squabble the sizable pension.
22-year veteran New York Police Officer Michael Gerard Smith reportedly committed suicide by shooting himself as his police lieutenant girlfriend and her parents were in the next room of their apartment packing her bags to leave.
Smith, a community affairs officer with the department, killed himself in his Manhattan Beach apartment on March 7, 2017.
He did so while Lt. Zoya Golubeva was breaking up with him and also while he was living apart from wife Elizabeth Ann Morehouse.
The New York Post reported that Smith first handed girlfriend, Golubeva, a note that said, ‘I love you more than you’ll ever know,’ as she and her parents packed up her things in their bedroom. The 48-year-old lawman then walked to a nearby foyer and shot himself in the forehead.
Elizabeth Ann Morehouse seen wih her husband of 14 years Lt. Mike Smith of the NYPD, was displaced in both her husband’s affections and as his beneficiary by his policewoman lover
Officer Mike Smith [left], and Lt. Zoya Golubeva [right]. Th Russian born beauty, 38, is named the sole beneficiary of his police pension benefits
Smith had just filed retirement a few days prior and next to his body laid a picture of the then 37-year-old blond.
A ‘pension statement’ sat on a counter that was also close by.
His wife Elizabeth Morehouse, who had been married to Smith for 14 years, previously had been named as the beneficiary of Smith’s NYC Police Pension Fund until he secretly had it changed to the Russian native, 11 months before killing himself.
Elizabeth Morehouse can seek to collect a third of the benefits, however, under state laws that do protect disinherited spouses. According to his sister, Kathleen Carrano, his Russian born girlfriend, Lt. Zoya Golubeva, had been open to leaving the money to Smith’s daughter
Morehouse – who had been married to Smith for 14 years – had been named as the beneficiary of Smith’s NYC Police Pension Fund until he secretly had it changed to the Russian native, 11 months before killing himself
Changing the names prevented his wife and 14-year-old daughter from getting their hands on his $810,000 death benefit.
‘That money should go to my daughter, he’s her father,’ Morehouse asserted.
She discovered the change when opening an envelope from the pension fund that was addressed to her husband – a felony crime that could warrant federal prosecution.
Spouses do not have a right to be notified when a person changes their beneficiary.
Morehouse can seek to collect a third of the benefits, however, under state laws that do protect disinherited spouses.
She has filed a ‘right of election’ claim to the amount – totaling approximately $270,000.
Golubeva would have claim to the remaining $540,000.
Experts familiar with pensions, claim that the change in beneficiary is a common one and has to be respected.
‘This kind of thing has gone on forever. It’s soap opera stuff all the time,’ said John Murphy, a former executive director of NYCERS.
‘They fall in love with someone else and want to leave the money to them.’
Nicole Giambarrese, the police pension fund’s general counsel, said the fund ‘is legally obligated to honor.’
Officers arrived in numbers at at Smith’s Manhattan Beach apt [photo], on March 7, 2017 after the suicide
Fellow New York police officers lit candles outside Smith’s apartment building the night he took his own life. Smith had just applied for retirement
According to Smith’s sister, Kathleen Carrano, Golubeva had been open to giving the money to her boyfriend’s daughter.
‘She called it ‘blood money,’ and didn’t want any of it,’ Carrano claimed. – But 16 months since Smith’s death, there has been no indication that the mother-of-three would be returning the money.
Golubeva’s family had gotten along well with Smith’s family, even celebrating Thanksgiving together one year.
Carrano stated, however, that the woman has ceased communication with Smith’s family.
Morehouse can seek to collect a third of the benefits, however, under state laws that do protect disinherited spouses
The sister was also upset because Golubeva allegedly has Korean War medals belonging to Smith’s father – Raymond – and has not given them back.
‘They’re really significant to our family. I don’t know what meaning they would have for her,’ Carrano said.
Smith handed Golubeva a note that said, ‘I love you more than you’ll ever know,’ as she and her parents packed up her things in their bedroom at his Manhattan Beach apt [photo], on March 7, 2017
Smith’s death shocked his family, who said the long-time cop had been a pillar in the 70th Precinct in Kensington for 23 years.
‘He was looking forward to getting a dog — even starting a dog-walking service — and going to the beach,’ Carrano said. ‘We didn’t pick up on any signs of depression.’
He had been adamant on helping area cops deal with suicide awareness through his work as a union delegate.
‘He’d say, “Oh my god, there has to be another way,”‘ Morehouse added. ‘He believed in God and believed that suicide is wrong.’
The two never formally divorced, and Smith and Golubeva were said to have a difficult relationship from the moment they started dating in 2014.
‘We remained friends, and both loved our daughter,’ Morehouse said.
She was able to get the $250,000 life insurance policy for Smith though, because he left no will.
Golubeva collected $142,438 in payment last year from the NYPD. She is expected to receive a large pension when she retires.
Smith’s daughter shared that she missed her father ‘every day’ and doesn’t understand why the woman won’t return the money.
‘She was leaving Daddy. She wanted nothing to do with him. Why does she think she’s entitled to his money?’ Morehouse added that her daughter said.