DA Vance Announces Indictment of Travel Agency Bookkeeper for Stealing $2.6 Million From Former Employer


February 1, 2018
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of REGINE CHARLES, 44, a former bookkeeper, for stealing approximately $2.6 million from her employer by issuing more than 500 unauthorized checks from the company’s accounts. CHARLES’ close acquaintance, DANIEL LOUIS, 45, is also charged for his role in the thefts. Both defendants are charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Grand Larceny in the First Degree. CHARLES is also charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree. [1] 

 

“The $2.6 million Regine Charles is charged with stealing from a travel agency paid for her own trips to Disney World and Miami, as well as credit card bills, tax debts, car payments and more,” said District Attorney Vance. “Although companies of all sizes can be victimized by employee theft, a recent study found that 76 percent of insider fraud in 2016 targeted small and mid-size businesses. I encourage any company that believes it has been the victim of this type of theft to call my Office’s Financial Frauds Hotline at 212-335-8900.”

According to the indictment and statements made on the record in court, in October 2009, CHARLES began working as a bookkeeper for Bonjour USA Inc., a travel agency that caters to French tourists visiting the U.S. In this capacity, she generated checks to pay vendors and maintained the company’s financial records. Between June 2010 and January 2016, CHARLES stole more than $2.6 million from the company by issuing more than 500 unauthorized checks from its operating accounts to various individuals known to her. More than 400 of the checks, totaling more than $1.8 million, were issued to LOUIS and deposited into accounts in his name, to which CHARLES also had access. Once the deposits were made, LOUIS made large cash withdrawals of the stolen funds.

CHARLES retained access to much of the stolen money and used it to pay for personal expenses, including credit card bills, tax debts, car payments, and trips to Miami and Walt Disney World, among other expenditures. To further the fraud, CHARLES altered the company’s accounting records with entries that showed some of the stolen checks had been written to legitimate vendors. However, in February 2016, the unauthorized checks were discovered when CHARLES went on vacation. The company terminated CHARLES and the conduct was reported to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Assistant District Attorney Ryan Gee is handling the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Gloria Garcia and Anne Ternes, Deputy Chiefs of the Financial Frauds Bureau; Archana Rao, Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau; and Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Assistant District Attorney William Furber, former Assistant District Attorney Lisa Zito, Paralegals Marissa Volpe and Edward Clifford assisted with the investigation, as well as Financial Investigator Jason Campaiola, under the supervision of Irene Serrapica, Deputy Chief of FAFI, and Robert Demarest, Chief of FAFI.

District Attorney Vance thanked Detective Daniel Alessandrino of the NYPD’s Special Frauds Squad for his assistance with the investigation.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are 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.

Defendant Information:

REGINE CHARLES, D.O.B 10/1/1973
Linden, New Jersey

Charges:

  • Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
  • Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, four counts

DANIEL LOUIS, D.O.B. 6/16/1972
Brooklyn, New York

  • Charges:
    Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count