D.A. Vance: Former Bursar at City College of New York Charged with Stealing Students’ Checks


October 26, 2021

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today filed charges against JOSEPH BOSELLI, 58, the former Bursar of the City College of New York, for stealing more than 900 checks, most of which were intended for approximately 700 current and former students, totaling nearly $500,000. The defendant is charged in a New York County Criminal Court Complaint with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, and Offering a False Instrument for Filing. [1]

“Many New Yorkers who take advantage of the world-class public education at their doorsteps still face enormous financial burdens thanks to the high cost of living here,” said District Attorney Vance. “The last thing students and their families need to worry about is university employees stealing money that is rightfully owed to them. I thank our partners at the New York State Inspector General’s Office for their assistance with this investigation and my Office’s Financial Frauds prosecutors for their diligent work ensuring these thefts were uncovered and the defendant held accountable.”

“This individual brazenly abused his position to steal money from hard-working students,” said acting New York State Inspector General Robyn Adair. “New York State will not tolerate those who take advantage of others for ill-gotten profit. We thank the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and CUNY for working together to hold this individual accountable for his actions.”

“City College and CUNY were pleased to cooperate with our colleagues in the New York County District’s Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement agencies with the investigation into the allegations against Mr. Boselli,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. This case is an example of CUNY’s continued commitment to identify and eradicate allegations of corruption, fraud, criminal activity, and conflicts of interest by promptly referring such instances to the appropriate authorities and cooperating fully with the investigations. I commend everyone at CUNY and in law enforcement for their hard work on this case.”

As alleged in court documents and stated on the record in court, BOSELLI was employed as the Bursar of City College from October 2011 to October 2019. From August 16, 2012 to November 22, 2017, BOSELLI stole more than 900 checks totaling nearly $500,000. The checks were issued to more than 700 current and former City College students by City College, the City University of New York (“CUNY”), and the City College Fund – a now-defunct non-profit organization that provided merit-based scholarships and other financial awards to City College students. The checks ranged in amounts from $4 to $3,318. Many of the stolen checks were intended for students who were owed money from the college, typically because they received a stipend or scholarship, or because they had pre-paid tuition or fees prior to the school receiving a loan or other payment.

In many instances, the endorsement sections on the backs of the checks bore forged student signatures. Some of the checks say, in what appears to be the same handwriting, “pay to the order of Joseph Boselli.” The defendant typically deposited the stolen checks into his personal bank accounts using an ATM. BOSELLI spent the stolen funds on flights to San Francisco, California; Jacksonville, Florida; and Milan, Italy; hotels in Aruba and Italy; and purchases at Gucci, Luxury Goods Italia S.P.A, and Blue Nile LLC, an online jewelry company.

In email correspondence with several students regarding their missing money, BOSELLI gave them the impression the matter was under investigation. In at least two instances, after students inquired about their missing checks, he arranged for The City College Fund to award aid to the students, and provided them with that check instead of the original check they were owed.

Investigators from the Manhattan D.A.’s Office and New York State Office of Inspector General began an investigation into suspected employee thefts at the Bursar’s Office in 2017. Later during that investigation, investigators from the Manhattan D.A.’s Office uncovered this scheme.

Assistant D.A. Jessica Olive handled the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Ryan Gee (Deputy Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau), Hope Korenstein (Deputy Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau), and Kofi Sansculotte (Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau) and Executive Assistant D.A. Christopher Conroy (Chief of the Investigation Division). Assistant D.A. Maria Luna, Paralegal Kristen Grimes and DANY Squad Detective Jose Toala also assisted with the investigation. Principal Financial Investigator Chris Ann Fenty of the Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigations (“FAFI”) Bureau provided assistance, under the supervision of Irene Serrapica (Deputy Bureau Chief of FAFI), and Robert Demarest (Bureau Chief of FAFI). Former Assistant D.A.s David Crowley and Christopher Hirsch, former Paralegal Malik James, and former Principal Accountant Investigator Elodia Marco also assisted with the investigation.

District Attorney Vance thanked the New York State Inspector General’s Office, particularly Senior Investigative Counsel Kenneth Michaels and Director of Audit Giovanni Liotine; the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, particularly Associate Attorney Daniel Lewis and Forensic Tax Auditor Festus Anaemeje; the CUNY Office of Risk, Audit, and Compliance, particularly Edward A. Jayetileke, University Director of Investigations; the City College Department of Public Safety, particularly Investigations Specialist Edward Hickey, and Lieutenant Anthony Laperuta; and City College, particularly Felix Lam, Vice President of Finance, and Paul Occhiogrosso, Executive Counsel to the President.

Defendant Information:

JOSEPH BOSELLI

Hartsdale, NY

Charges:

  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, two counts
  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count
  • Offering a False Instrument for Filing, a class E felony, two counts

[1] The charges contained in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.