FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Bookkeeper Indicted For Stealing Approximately $325,000 From Carroll Gardens Plumbing Supply Company
Allegedly Used Funds to Travel to Disney World and Poconos Resort, Pay for Airline Tickets, Motel Stays And Restaurant Meals
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced a 159-count indictment charging a former bookkeeper with stealing almost $325,000 from a family-owned plumbing supply business in Carroll Gardens by repeatedly writing checks from the company’s bank account to pay her credit card bills instead of paying vendors.
District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant almost ruined a hardworking family’s small business by allegedly stealing a huge amount of money to fund her travels and pay her bills. Luckily her alleged scheme was uncovered before that could happen. She will now be held accountable.”
The District Attorney said that the defendant, Elizabeth Nero, a.k.a., Elizabeth Leone, 55, of 45-30 Pearson Street, in Long Island City, Queens, was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which she is charged with one count of second-degree grand larceny, 79 counts of first-degree falsifying business records and 79 counts of second-degree forgery. She was ordered held on bail of $20,000 bond or $10,000 cash and to return to court on May 20, 2015.
The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, in approximately December 2010, the defendant was hired to work as a bookkeeper for Hicks Street Plumbing and Heating Supply, Inc., located on Hicks Street, in Carroll Gardens, which is owned by Matthew Ruggiero. It is alleged that between July 2011 and October 2013, the defendant used the company’s checking account to pay her own bills, specifically forging the name of Mr. Ruggiero or his wife, on company checks and using them to pay her credit card bills, instead of paying the company’s vendors and suppliers.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, among other things, the defendant used the money to pay for airplane tickets, accommodations at a resort in the Poconos, travel to Disney World, motel stays and restaurant meals.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, in order to conceal her alleged theft the defendant “whited out” the designated payee, i.e., her Chase, Discover or American Express account, after the checks were cashed and an image of the cancelled check appeared on the company’s bank statement. After “whiting out” her payee, the defendant would allegedly write in the name of a vendor or supplier.
The case was investigated by Brooklyn District Attorney Financial Investigator Rosa Velasquez and New York City Police Department Detective John Munari, of the NYPD Financial Crimes Task Force.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Kurtz, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Felice Sontupe, Chief of the Frauds Bureau, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.