MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced today that a Suffolk County woman has been charged with stealing more than $316,000 from the Great Neck contracting company where she worked as a bookkeeper by inflating her salary, creating fake employees, and reimbursing herself for phony expenses. Reyes used the money to fund shopping sprees on clothing, shoes, and jewelry.
Onesta Reyes, 48, of West Babylon, was arrested this morning by DA Investigators and charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, and is scheduled to be arraigned later today in First District Court, Hempstead.
Rice said that between January 2011 and May 2012, Reyes embezzled a total of $316,639.40 in gross earnings and unearned reimbursements from her employer, a Great Neck-based contractor. As bookkeeper, her duties included overseeing the payroll and billings. She used her access to the payroll system to inflate her 2011 yearly salary from $48,720 to $239,893.
In addition, Reyes reimbursed herself more than $89,000 for expenses between January 2011 and November 2011, when in fact she had none. Reyes also created a second employee under the name “Onesta V. Reyes,” whose gross salary was $22,729 between October 2011 and December 2011. Reyes stole an additional $1,500 in phony expenses during that time period, and stole an additional $11,815 between April 2012 and May 2012.
Reyes used the cash to support her shopping habits, spending the money on clothing, shoes, and jewelry. The theft was discovered by an internal audit and referred to the DA’s Office for investigation in May 2012. Reyes was terminated in June 2012.
“The notion that this defendant would steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from her employer is bad enough, but to know that she used the money to add to her wardrobe is truly stunning,” Rice said. “Now she faces a criminal conviction and years in a prison cell for this abuse of her employer’s trust.”
Assistant District Attorney Peter Mancuso of the Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting the case for the DA’s Office.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.