MINEOLA, N.Y. – Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced the indictment of a Merrick employee of a Nassau waterproofing company for stealing thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges to her employer’s American Express account – including food and drinks purchased before boarding a cruise ship hours before the theft was discovered.
Heather DiCostanzo, 47, of Merrick, was arraigned today before Nassau County Court Judge Philip Grella on the grand jury charge of Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree (a C felony). Judge Grella released the defendant on her own recognizance. If convicted, DiCostanzo faces a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison. She is due back in court on Feb. 9.
“In the end, there was no place this defendant could travel – by air, or by cruise ship – to escape the consequences of her deceitful actions,” Acting DA Singas said. “Theft of funds, regardless of whether the victim is a member of the public or a private company, will be prosecuted by my office to the fullest extent of the law.”
Acting DA Singas said that from on or about Jan. 11, 2005 to Feb. 2, 2012, DiCostanzo embezzled $90,593.51 from her employer by making unauthorized purchases on an American Express card that had been given to her for business expenses, such as buying materials, paying shipping charges, EZ-Pass expenses and vendor services.
At the time, DiCostanzo was employed by the company as comptroller, in which capacity her responsibilities included handling accounts payable, accounts receivable, and general control of the monies flowing through the business.
The theft was discovered while DiCostanzo was on vacation in Florida by another employee of the company who noticed that pages of the company’s American Express bill detailing charges were missing. After contacting American Express, the company learned that there were many expenses on the card that were not related to the business – including lodging, airline travel, and household appliances, as well as purchases at department stores, restaurants, and supermarkets.
The company also discovered that DiCostanzo had just used the card while on vacation in Florida to purchase food and drinks just before boarding a cruise ship.
The company put an immediate hold on the card, and terminated DiCostanzo’s employment a few days later in January 2012.
Assistant District Attorney Peter Mancuso of Acting DA Singas’ Government and Consumer Fraud Bureau is prosecuting the case. DiCostanzo is represented by Michael Alber, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.