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Group Home Employee Charged With Stealing More Than $20K From Deceased Disabled Resident

Former residential care center employee took over deceased resident’s bank account

MINEOLA, NY - Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced today that a Suffolk man has been charged with four felonies, including identity theft and larceny charges, after taking over the bank account of a deceased man who lived in a residential complex for developmentally disabled adults. Ben Achampong

Ben Achampong, 27, of Coram, was arrested by DA Investigators at JFK International Airport returning to the U.S. from Ghana with assistance from the Port Authority Police Department and U.S. Customs. He has been charged with Identity Theft in the First Degree, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. He is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow in District Court, Hempstead.

Rice said that beginning in October 2008, Achampong stole the identity of a resident at Community Mainstreaming Associates (CMA) who had died in June 2008. Achampong began working at CMA as a facility manager in late 2007. Achampong used the deceased resident’s name and financial information to pay his own car insurance, credit card bills, rent, and cell phone bills. In February 2009, Achampong also obtained a debit card in the deceased resident’s name for his own benefit.

Achampong also stole the identity of a second deceased resident of the group home in order to file fraudulent tax returns and receive refunds in her name. The investigation is ongoing to determine if the defendant has stolen other identities.

CMA offers 24-hour supervised group homes, supportive living programs, in-home residential habilitation services and a community home for people with Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Mr. Achampong’s exploitation of a deceased person once under his care is ghastly,” Rice said. “He will now face the consequences of his actions.”

Assistant District Attorney Justin Heiferman of the DA’s Economic Crimes Bureau is handling the case for the District Attorney’s Office under the supervision of Bureau Chief Diane Peress and Deputy Bureau Chief Anne Donnelly.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.