DA Vance: Lina Vazquez Indicted for Stealing Approximately $42,000 From 93-Year-Old Veteran


April 12, 2016

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of LINA VAZQUEZ, 48, for stealing approximately $42,000 from her elderly neighbor by making unauthorized ATM withdrawals. The defendant is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and Identity Theft in the First Degree. [1]

“In just three months, Lina Vazquez is accused of stealing approximately $42,000 from her elderly neighbor by repeatedly withdrawing large amounts of cash from his checking account,” said District Attorney Vance. “The frequent withdrawals – often multiple per day – went unnoticed until the victim’s friend discovered the theft. 

“Scammers regularly befriend older victims to gain access to their personal information and conceal theft and fraud. I encourage anyone who believes that an older friend, relative, or loved one may be the victim of this type of fraud to call my Office’s Elder Abuse Hotline at 212-335-9007.”

According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, between July 1, 2015 and September 30, 2015, VAZQUEZ stole approximately $42,000 from her neighbor, a 93-year-old veteran. The victim, who did not leave his home unaided, often paid VAZQUEZ to assist him with paperwork and other tasks at his Chelsea apartment. During the time period charged in the indictment, VAZQUEZ made approximately 85 unauthorized ATM withdrawals from the victim’s checking account. The victim’s friend, who he had granted power of attorney, discovered the theft, confronted VAZQUEZ, and contacted law enforcement. VAZQUEZ sent the victim a check for $800 – the only restitution she has paid to date. 

On February 10, 2016, in a separate, unrelated case, TIFFANY WRIGHT pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. WRIGHT stole approximately $6,000 from her 91-year-old neighbor after opening a joint checking account with the victim, which WRIGHT offered to open under the pretense of helping to pay the victim’s bills. WRIGHT then transferred money from the joint account into her personal account and used the stolen funds to pay her credit card bill and other personal expenses. She also failed to claim the stolen money on her tax return and income affidavit for the New York City Housing Authority. WRIGHT is expected to be sentenced on April 13, 2016.

Assistant District Attorney Jenna Bergamo is handling the prosecution of the VAZQUEZ case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Catherine Christian, Chief of the Elder Abuse Unit; Warren Murray, Chief of Trial Bureau 50; and Executive Assistant District Attorney John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. 

Assistant District Attorney Erin Reid handled the prosecution of the WRIGHT case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Emilio Estela, Deputy Bureau Chief of Trial Bureau 70; Catherine Christian, Chief of the Elder Abuse Unit; Alfred Peterson, Chief of Trial Bureau 70; and Executive Assistant District Attorney John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Former Appellate Counsel to the Investigation Division Amyjane Rettew, Elder Abuse Coordinator Melanie Chan, Senior Rackets Investigator Lauren Liebhauser, and Financial Investigator Elaine Li 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.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment 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.

 

Defendant Information:

LINA VAZQUEZ, D.O.B. 11/17/1967
New York, NY

Charges: 
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, one count
•    Identity Theft in the First Degree, a class D felony, one count

TIFFANY WRIGHT, D.O.B. 11/2/1982
New York, NY

Convicted:
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, one count
•    Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony, one count