FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Former Public Administrator Employee Indicted for Stealing
Over $78,000 From Estates of Eight Decedents
Allegedly Used Stolen Funds on a Cruise, Bills, Shopping and More
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters, today announced that a former case manager at the Office of the Kings County Public Administrator has been indicted on grand larceny and other charges for allegedly stealing over $78,000 from the estates of eight deceased individuals whose estates his agency was administering.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant abused his position and betrayed the public trust by allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars that he then used for his personal expenses. A thorough investigation uncovered the extent of his alleged theft and we will now seek to hold him accountable. Public corruption and abuse of power will not be tolerated in Brooklyn.”
Commissioner Peters said, “This public servant misused his position in the Kings County Public Administrator’s Office to allegedly access the debit and credit card accounts of several deceased persons, stealing tens of thousands of dollars from their estates and using the money for lavish purchases, according to the charges. DOI’s report issued today details the alleged criminal conduct and makes recommendations to KCPA to address vulnerabilities in its policies and procedures to prevent future crimes. DOI thanks the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office for their partnership in this investigation.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Fitzroy Thompson, 36, of Park Slope, Brooklyn. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with second-degree grand larceny, third-degree corrupting the government, first-degree scheme to defraud and first- and third-degree identity theft. The defendant was ordered to return to court on January 9, 2019. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, the defendant was employed as a case manager at the Office of the Kings County Public Administrator, which administers estates of those who die without a last will and testament or without family members who are able to administer their estates. Between July 2017 and April 2018, the defendant allegedly stole a total of $78,325 in funds from estates being administered by the Public Administrator.
It is alleged that the defendant used credit cards and checking accounts belonging to estates of eight decedents whose cases he handled or could access to make various purchases and payments. In January 2018, he booked a cruise with Carnival Cruise Line, using one of the decedent’s credit cards to pay a $2,741 fee, the investigation found. He also allegedly used estate funds unlawfully to make ATM withdrawals exceeding $35,000, to make lease payments on a 2017 Nissan Pathfinder and a 2016 Nissan Altima, to make rent payments in connection with two properties, to pay phone and cable bills, to buy JetBlue airline tickets to Nassau, Bahamas and to make purchases at Walmart, Fingerhut and other companies.
The defendant was arrested in March 2018 after the executor of one estate noticed charges on his deceased relative’s account, including the cruise payment, and filed a police report. A subsequent investigation discovered the additional alleged larcenies. The defendant was suspended upon his arrest and resigned from the Office of the Public Administrator in July.
District Attorney Gonzalez thanked the Kings County Public Administrator’s Office, its staff and Public Administrator Richard Buckheit for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation.
The case was investigated by Senior Investigative Auditor Helen Gromadsky and Deputy Inspector General and Special Counsel Spector of the New York City Department of Investigation, under the supervision of Inspector General Eleonora Rivkin, Associate Commissioner Andrew Brunsden, Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Investigations Susan Lambiase, and First Deputy Commissioner Lesley Brovner. The case was also investigated by New York City Police Department Detective Mitchell Eisenberg of the 60th Precinct Detective Squad.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Adam Libove, of the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit with the assistance of Investigative Paralegal Zachary Gitman, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Chief of the Public Integrity Unit, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Deputy Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division and Mark Feldman, Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney for Crime Strategies and Investigations
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.