DOC captain allegedly used fake funeral notice to scam woman out of $ 40K

A captain at the city’s Department of Correction allegedly hatched a $ 40,000 scam by soliciting cash from a woman and then faking the death of their supposed investment partner.

Steve Francois, 43, of Queens, was arrested April 4 and charged with grand larceny for allegedly promising the woman he could make her $ 15,000 on a $ 40,000 investment, officials said.

Francois, who was out on sick leave at the time, met the victim outside his Jamaica home on Sept. 3 and took a cashier’s check for $ 40,000. He promised her $ 55,000 in October, according to the city Department of Investigation.

On Dec. 21, Francois allegedly sent the woman a funeral announcement and images of a man in a coffin – telling her that the man they were doing business with was dead and that her money would not be returned.

Investigators determined that Francois had deposited the $ 40,000 cashier’s check into his account on Sept. 4 and that he later withdrew a total of $ 39,937.43 from the same account, officials said.

Francois has been employed by the department since May 2013 and makes a base salary of about $ 96,000, the DOI statement said.

He was charged with third-degree grand larceny, a felony punishable by up to seven years in the slammer.

He was released on his own recognition and is scheduled to return to court on June 21.

“As alleged in the complaint, this defendant promised to profitably invest the victim’s $ 40,000 but stole the funds instead, enriching himself at the victim’s expense and breaking the law,” DOI Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber said in a statement.

DOC Commissioner Louis Molina said that Francois would be disciplined or face termination if he was convicted.
Gregory P. Mango

“This defendant is a high-ranking member of DOC’s supervisory staff whose integrity must be a top priority. I thank the Queens District Attorney’s office and the City Department of Correction for their partnership on this investigation, ”she added.

Queens DA Melinda Katz said: “Financial crimes can be devastating for victims and could lead to economic ruin. I want to thank the City Department of Investigation and all those involved in bringing this case to my Office. ”

DOC Commissioner Louis Molina said that “integrity is the most important quality that a law enforcement official must have, and when they betray someone’s trust, they fail that person and the agency they represent.

“We will not tolerate this type of alleged disgraceful behavior and if this individual is found guilty, they will be disciplined and face termination,” Molina added in a statement.

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