QUEENS HOUSEKEEPER INDICTED ON GRAND LARCENY CHARGES FOR ALLEGEDLY EMBEZZLING OVER $72,000 FROM ELDERLY EMPLOYER’S BANK ACCOUNT
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz today announced that Ondina Flores, a trusted housekeeper for an elderly couple, has been indicted by a Queens grand jury and arraigned in Supreme Court on grand larceny and other charges. The defendant allegedly embezzled over $72,000 from her employers’ bank accounts over a period of four years.
District Attorney Katz said, “The defendant was a long-time employee, entrusted to not only clean the home of her employer but to also help pay the bills following the death of the elderly woman’s husband. She betrayed that trust and allegedly began embezzling money instead of paying the bills. In custody, the defendant now faces very serious charges.”
Flores, 52, of Richmond Hill, Queens, was arraigned late yesterday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Cassandra Mullen on a 105-count indictment. The defendant is charged with grand larceny in the second degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the second degree and criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree. Justice Mullen ordered Flores to return to Court on September 29, 2021. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 15 years in prison.
The District Attorney said that, according to the charges, for more than 15 years Flores was a housekeeper for an elderly couple. After the death of the husband, the couple’s son continued to have the defendant clean his deteriorating mother’s home and had her assist with paying some of the recurring bills. Having the power of attorney for his mother, the son regularly signed checks against his parent’s bank accounts and gave them to the defendant to fill in the payee and the amount of the bills.
After the son’s mother died, said the DA, the victim then hired the defendant to be a housekeeper at his own home in Queens. But one day, the son and his wife observed the defendant on video surveillance allegedly rummaging through their personal papers in an unauthorized location inside their home. They also caught her allegedly disconnecting the wires to cut the video feed. This prompted the son to review bank statements of his mother’s bank accounts, which revealed that the defendant had allegedly been stealing from the mother’s bank accounts by writing numerous checks payable to cash.
Continuing, DA Katz said, a joint investigation by my office and the NYPD concluded that between January 2015 and June 2019, Flores allegedly diverted 103 checks in various amounts by making them payable to cash, endorsing the back of the checks, and then either depositing them into her own bank accounts or cashing them out at a Chase bank branch in Queens County. In that period, the defendant is accused of stealing more than $72,000 from her employer’s bank accounts.
Detective Abigail Soto, of the NYPD 107th Detective Squad conducted the initial investigation under the supervision of Sergeant Christopher Kehoe (now, Commanding Officer of the 107th Detective Squad) and Lieutenant Shawn Tuthill, former Commanding Officer of the 107th Detective Squad (now, Captain at the Narcotics Borough Queens South).
Investigative Accountant Silvana Sutich, of the District Attorney’s Forensic Accounting Unit, conducted the follow up investigation under the supervision of Joseph Plonski, Director of the Forensic Accounting Unit.
Assistant District Attorney Myongjae Yi, Section Chief, and Rachel Stein, Supervisor, of the District Attorney’s Housing and Worker Protection Bureau, are prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys William Jorgensen, Bureau Chief and Christina Hanophy, Deputy Chief, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Gerard A. Brave.
**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.