BOSTON (CBS) – The Winthrop Retirement Board has voted unanimously to immediately strip the taxpayer-funded pension of Angelo LaMonica, the town’s former police chief.

LaMonica, who has received almost $1 million in benefits since a 1995 federal conviction, was the focus of an I-Team investigation in February.

Winthrop’s former police chief abruptly stepped down amid a federal probe more than two decades ago. Prosecutors accused him of taking bribes to ignore illegal gambling activity.

Even though LaMonica admitted to taking the cash payments, his actual guilty plea was for filing false tax returns.

According to Massachusetts law, public officials are supposed to lose their pensions if they break the law on the job.

But at the time of LaMonica’s conviction, retirement board officials determined they could not revoke his retirement benefit because the crime was not directly related to his job as police chief.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars and more than two decades later, board members have now decided that was an expensive mistake.

Michael Sacco, the attorney representing the retirement board, said it is still being decided how much of the taxpayer money already paid to LaMonica should be recouped.

LaMonica’s attorney, James Cipoletta, said he and his client are already planning to appeal the decision.

“He is immensely disappointed and frustrated,” Cipoletta said. “We believe the decision is both factually and legally incorrect.”

A formal decision will be issued within the next 15 days and released as a public record, Sacco told the I-Team.

During a series of reports about convicted public officials receiving pensions, the I-Team uncovered other examples of questionable payouts.

For instance, a former school administrator lost his retirement benefits after it was discovered his federal conviction fell through the cracks for more than six years.

Ryan Kath can be reached at rkath@cbs.com. You can follow him on Twitter and connect on Facebook.

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