A captain in the city’s Department of Corrections allegedly staged a $40,000 scam by soliciting money from a woman and then faking the death of her supposed investment partner.
Steve Francois, 43, of Queens, was arrested April 4 and charged with grand larceny for allegedly promising the woman he could earn her $15,000 on a $40,000 investment, officials said.
Francois, who was on sick leave at the time, met the victim outside his home in Jamaica on September 3 and took a cashier’s check for $40,000. He promised her $55,000 in October, according to the city’s investigation department.
On December 21, Francis allegedly sent the woman a funeral announcement and pictures of a man in a coffin – telling her the man they were dealing with was dead and his money would not be returned.
Investigators determined that Francois deposited the cashier’s check for $40,000 into his account on September 4 and then withdrew a total of $39,937.43 from the same account, officials said.
Francois has been employed by the department since May 2013 and earns a base salary of approximately $96,000, according to the DOI statement.
He was charged with grand larceny in the third degree, a crime punishable by seven years in prison.
He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on June 21.
“As alleged in the complaint, this defendant promised to profitably invest the victim’s $40,000 but instead stole the funds, enriching himself at the victim’s expense and breaking the law,” the court said. DOI Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber in a statement.
“This defendant is a senior DOC supervisory staff whose integrity must be a top priority. I thank the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the City’s Corrections Department for their partnership in this investigation,” she added.
Queens DA Melinda Katz said: “Financial crimes can be devastating to victims and could lead to economic ruin. I would like to thank the city’s investigation department and everyone involved in bringing this matter to my office. »
DOC Commissioner Louis Molina said “Integrity is the most important quality a law enforcement official must have, and when he betrays someone’s trust, he betrays that person. and the agency he represents.
“We will not tolerate this type of allegedly disgraceful behavior and if this individual is found guilty, he will be disciplined and risk termination,” Molina added in a statement.
New York Post