FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 1, 2016
Bookkeeper Indicted For Stealing Approximately $755,000
From Brooklyn Property Management Company
Allegedly Used Funds to Pay for Investment Properties in Syracuse
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced a 34-count indictment charging a former employee with stealing almost $755,000 from a family-owned company that managed residential buildings in Brooklyn.
District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant allegedly used her employer here in Brooklyn as a personal piggy bank by stealing a staggering amount of money from several company bank accounts and then investing the stolen money into her own properties upstate. She will now be held accountable for this elaborate scheme to defraud.”
The District Attorney said that the defendant, Jennifer De Coteau Ulanov, 44, of Syracuse, New York (formerly of Brighton Beach) 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, 21 counts of second-degree forgery and 12 counts of first-degree falsifying business records. She was ordered held on bail of $750,000 bond or $250,000 cash and to return to court on March 30, 2016.
The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, Ulanov was the sole employee of Guardian Property Management, a property management company based in Park Slope and owned by husband and wife partners. Guardian managed small to mid-size rentals, cooperatives and condominiums located in Park Slope, Williamsburg, Sunset Park and other Brooklyn neighborhoods. Its duties included maintaining clients’ funds, collecting rents, common charges and maintenance fees, hiring and paying contractors, and managing the purchase and sale of condominium units and cooperative apartments.
Guardian maintained separate accounts at Citibank for each of its clients, and a master account into which Guardian’s fees were deposited and from which it paid its operating costs, including rent, payroll and office supplies. Only the owners were authorized to sign checks from all of the accounts.
Furthermore, according to the indictment, Ulanov’s duties included opening mail, making bank deposits, preparing checks to pay contractors and vendors on behalf of clients, downloading Guardian’s clients’ bank statements and making entries into Guardian’s QuickBooks software.
It is alleged that between January 3, 2010 and December 31, 2014, Ulanov stole over $755,000 from Guardian in a number of ways, including:
- Depositing checks for rent, maintenance and common charges into her personal accounts instead of into client accounts by forging the clients’ signatures for endorsement.
- Forging the signature of her employers on scores of Guardian client accounts and depositing the forged checks into her personal account, then covering up the shortfalls by doctoring the Citibank statements to include false entries and false calculations.
- Forging her employers’ signatures on checks from the Guardian master account and making them payable to herself, as well as diverting client fees that should have been deposited into the Guardian master account into her accounts, as well as diverting client fees from the master account into her personal accounts.
- Illegally obtaining unrestricted access to Guardian’s accounts which allowed her to alter the monthly statements for Guardian client accounts so they appeared to have balances in excess of their true balances.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, among other things, the defendant used the money to pay down mortgages on and to maintain six investment properties in Syracuse, New York.
The case was investigated by Brooklyn District Attorney Supervising Financial Investigator Deborah Wey. It was additionally investigated by Detective Investigator Andrew Choi of the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau, under the supervision of Supervising Detective Investigator Michael Seminara, Deputy Chief Edwin Murphy and the overall supervision of Chief Richard Bellucci.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Dana Roth, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Felice Sontupe, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.