DiNapoli, Bronx District Attorney Investigation Results in Fraud Conviction
A 2007 field visit from auditors at the Office of State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli was the catalyst of an investigation that led to the February 9, 2011, guilty plea of Juan Sanchez on charges of Attempted Forgery in the First Degree, Identity Theft in the First Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree and Grand Larceny. He will receive an indeterminate sentence of 2-4 years in State Prison.
“What began as a routine visit from my office has now resulted in three convictions,” said DiNapoli. “Our auditors found fraud and non-compliance in the City’s legally exempt home day care system. Day care providers are entrusted to use tax dollars to take care of children. When someone abuses that trust, we’ll find them and make sure they’re prosecuted.”
In June 2007, auditors from Comptroller DiNapoli’s office, along with a representative from the Administration for Children Services (ACS) made an unannounced field visit to the Bronx residence of an individual registered with ACS as a legally exempt child care provider. It was discovered that fraudulent activity had occurred in that facility and the Investigations Unit of the Comptroller’s Office was contacted. The case was referred to the NYC Human Resources Administration’s Bureau of Fraud Investigation in September 2007 by ACS, which subsequently referred the issue to Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson’s Office in April 2008. A separate case resulting in a guilty plea was handled by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.
On April 15, 2009, Juan Sanchez and his wife Denise Elias were arrested. On December 3, 2010, Elias pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Identity Theft in the First Degree. She will get five years probation and will have to pay $54,000 in restitution.
Previously, on March 7, 2008, Octavia Douett pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree. On April 16, 2008, she was sentenced to five years probation and will have to pay $5,000 in restitution.
New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud, corruption and abuse of taxpayer money by calling the Comptroller’s toll-free fraud hotline at 1-888-OSC -4555; filing a complaint online at email@example.com; or mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller Investigations Unit, 110 State Street, 14th floor, Albany, NY 12236.