MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that a Suffolk County woman pleaded guilty today to 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 buy clothing, shoes, and jewelry.
Onesta Reyes, 49, of West Babylon, pleaded guilty today before Nassau County Court Judge Jerald Carter to Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree (a C felony). Prosecutors are requesting 2 to 6 years in prison, and $316,639.40 in restitution to her employer. She is due back in court for sentencing on June 11.
“In this case, the shock of someone stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from her employer to update her wardrobe is matched only by the brazen manner in which she committed these crimes,” DA Rice said. “Though this defendant used almost every trick in the book to steal from her employer, in the end she could not escape the consequences of her actions.”
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 in fraudulent expenses between January 2011 and November 2011. 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 bogus expenses during that time period, and stole an additional $11,815 between April 2012 and May 2012.
Reyes used the cash to buy clothing, shoes, and jewelry at Macy’s and other stores. The theft was discovered by an internal audit and referred to the DA Rice’s office for investigation in May 2012. Reyes was terminated in June 2012.
Assistant District Attorney Peter Mancuso of DA Rice’s Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting the case. Reyes is represented by Daniel Graber, Esq.