Ex-securities broker back in court on theft charges

A former securities broker from Cortlandt accused of stealing $130,000 from her clients and spending the money on herself is due in town court today on felony larceny charges.

Tamalyn Crutchfield Stewart (left) has been held on $100,000 bail following her arraignment last week on charges of second- and third-degree grand larceny.

According to the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, Stewart is accused of stealing $100,000 from one client and $30,000 from another over a seven-month span in 2010.

Prosecutors say she was supposed to invest the money but used it for personal expenses instead.

The District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation in June after the victims filed complaints.

Stewart, 57, faces up to 15 years in state prison if convicted of the top larceny count.

Guilty plea in parking lot payroll scam at Westchester Medical Center

A Queens man who managed private parking lots at the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla admitted today that he bilked his employer out of more than $75,000 over a two-year period.

James Lozada, 36, pleaded guilty at his arraignment in Westchester County court to a reduced felony charge of third-degree grand larceny. He was ordered to pay $75,860 in restitution and remains free on $50,000 bail.

How much, if any, time Lozada serves behind bars will depend (as it usually does) on how much he can pay back before his sentencing on April 9. If he pays back the full amount, he will serve five years of probation with no jail time. If he pays back half of it, he will serve five years’ probation with four months of weekends in jail. If he pays back nothing, he goes to state prison for 1 to 3 years.

He was facing up to seven years in state prison had he been convicted at trial of third-degree grand larceny, and up to 15 years wif convicted of second-degree grand larceny, the original charge.

Lozada, an ex-regional manager for Healthcare Parking Systems of America, started submitting phony payroll information in February 2009, according to the Westchester County District Attorney’s office. He used the names of past employees to get the company to cut fradulent paychecks, and then deposited the checks into his own bank account, as well as the account of his girlfriend.

His attorney, Raymond Cash, declined to comment without his client’s approval.

Ex-Yonkers library worker arraigned on felony theft charges

A former Yonkers library worker  pleaded not guilty today to charges that she swindles the library system out of  $163,582 over seven years.

Margo Reed of Yonkers (left) was arraigned in Westchester County Court on one count of second-degree grand larceny, 14 counts of falsifying business records, two counts of filing a false instrument and one count of filng a false tax returns. All of the charges are felonies.

She remains free without bail and is due back in court on Nov. 16, although her lawyer, Lawrence Sykes, will meet with prosecutors to discuss her case on Aug. 24.

She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of second-degree grand larceny.

Reed worked in the library’s business office and was responsible for collecting overdue fines and other revenue from the three branches of the Yonkers Public Library System. She was also responsible for handing over the library’s revenue to the Yonkers Finance Department for deposit. County prosecutors say she stole the money between July 7, 2004 and Dec. 7, 2010 from One Larkin Center in Yonkers.

Police said she had a key to the library’s locked deposit bag and used it to pilfer cash. She also is accused of altering the library’s business records to hide the missing funds.

District Attorney Janet DiFiore said the stolen money could have been used to buy books, reading materials and computers for Yonkers libraries.

“In today’s economy, with limited resources and tight budgets, this kind of crime directly impacts children, students, the elderly and anyone who looks to the public library system as a place of knowledge and enjoyment,” she said in a written statement.

Yonkers’ 2009 salary records indicate that Reed made $43,323 in gross pay and worked for the city since 1985. She lives in a federally subsidized apartment building where residents’ rents are based on their income.She filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2003. Virtually all her debt was credit-card related, court papers show. According to federal court records, Reed’s case was closed on April 13, 2004, and a judge released her from all her debts.

Staff writer Ernie Garcia contributed to this report.

Woman who stole $180K to serve no jail time

A Hartsdale woman (left) will serve no jail time for stealing more than $180,000 when she was treasurer of a Mount Vernon co-op apartment complex.

Mary Mancuso, 53, was sentenced today to serve five years’ probation for second-degree grand larceny. She pleaded guilty to the felony charge on Jan. 11.

Mancuso was accused of embezzling $181,657 from Vernon Woods Apartments Inc., 180 Pearsall Drive, according to the Westchester County District Attorney’s office.

As treasurer of the 353-unit apartment complex, Mancuso used money from the co-op’s bank account for personal expenses, including $80,000 for landscaping at her private home on Topland Road.

After a new management company took over, a complaint led to an investigation beginning in June 2009 by investigators from the District Attorney’s Office and, ultimately, Mancuso’s arrest.

She has paid back the entire amount, which prosecutors said she stole between December 2007 and April 2008. If she had been convicted at a trial she could have been sentenced to a maximum of 15 years in state prison.

Scarsdale baseball project promoter charged with theft

WHITE PLAINS — A financially-troubled Scarsdale man is accused of bilking an investor out of $50,000 for a baseball training center that was never built and for misrepresenting himself to get more money.

Frank Schwall, (left) a former member of the Scarsdale Little League board of directors, also is accused of not paying taxes connected to his failed venture, Big Apple Baseball.

Schwall, 46, was arraigned in Westchester County Court this morning on a eight-count indictment charging him with second- and third-degree grand larceny, two counts of possession of forged pay stubs and falsifying business records, all felonies.

He also was charged with misdemeanor counts of failing to file a tax return and filing a false tax return.

His attorney, Andrew Proto of the White Plains firm Riebling, Proto & Sachs, said Schwall maintains his innocence despite the allegations.

“He absolutely denies doing anything criminal in nature with respect to Big Apple Basewball or otherwise,” Proto said.

According to the Westchester County District Attorney’s office, Schwall created Big Apple Baseball, LLC in 2006 to raise funds for a state-of-the-art indoor training center for little league-aged children.

He promoted the training facility and sought donations from several wealthy Scarsdale residents. But by October 2007, prosecutors said, Big Apple Baseball was insolvent and the donations were in Schwall’s personal bank account.

Still, Schwall kept looking for donations. Another investor gave him $50,000 after Schwall allegedly said he had personally invested $200,000 in the venture and that a location in Port Chester was available for construction.

None of it was true, prosecutors allege, and say Schwall of using the $50,000 for mortgage payments.

Additionally, Schwall is accused of not claiming more than $175,000 from Big Apple Baseball on his 2006 state income tax return and not filing a return in 2007, even though prosecutors say he took in nearly $160,000 from Big Apple Baseball’s investors.

Schwall, who was arrested last year but not indicted until last week, is free on $10,000 bail. He is due back before County Judge Barry Warhit on Feb. 18.

Schwall faces up to 15 years in state prison if convicted on the top grand larceny charge, which prosecutors said is connected to a 2005 transaction in which he misrepresented his work status to get a home equity line of credit.

“We’re in the process of preparing to vigorously defend him at trial and Mr. Schwall is confident that when evidence is heard by a jury, the charges against him will be refuted,” Proto said.

High-priced testimony at grand larceny trial

During trials, defense lawyers often pay expert witnesses to testify when they can offer evidence to counter the prosecution’s claims of guilt. Prosecution witnesses typically don’t get paid.

But today, during the grand larceny trial of Todd Newman, a certified fraud examiner named James Lynch was paid to be on the witness stand at the Westchester County Courthouse. To read today’s article about Lynch’s testimony, click here.

Lynch, a forensic accountant, charged $400 an hour (!!!) to Newman’s former employer, B. Schoenberg & Co., a plastics recycler in Yorktown Heights. That bill will be on top of the $350 an hour he got to investigate Newman’s alleged misdeeds, namely the embezzlement of nearly $2 million while he was company treasurer.

Of course, the defense made a point of bringing up these figures during Lynch’s testimony. I watched jurors’ eyes widen and jaws drop when they heard the numbers. Newman lawyer, Merril Rubin, suggested that Lynch was saying what his sponsors told him to say, but Assistant District Attorney Nicole Gamble, during re-direct, asked Lynch if he was ever coached. Lynch said no.

For the record, Lynch makes as much per hour on the witness stand as I make in 2 days. Makes me wish I had studied harder in math class.