A Captain from the Department of Corrections (DOC) was arrested and charged with stealing $ 40,000 in an alleged investment deal.
43-year-old Steve Francois from Jamaica, Queens, was arrested on April 4 and charged with aggravated theft. He was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on April 24 and released on his own initiative and scheduled to return to court on June 21, 2022.
The City Investigation Department (DOI) started the investigation after the victim reported the incident to the DOC, which then alerted the DOI. The trial is being prosecuted by the Queens District Attorney’s office.
“As alleged in the complaint, this defendant promised to invest the victim’s $ 40,000 profitably, but stole the funds instead, enriching himself at the victim’s expense and breaking the law,” said DOI Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber. “This defendant is a senior member of the 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 cooperation in this investigation.”
According to the criminal complaint and the DOI’s investigation, the victim allegedly agreed to invest $ 40,000 with Francois with a return of $ 15,000 in a written contract where the $ 55,000 was due to the victim in October 2021. The two reportedly met in September. 3, 2021 outside Francois’ Queens home, where the victim provided Francois with a $ 40,000 cash check.
After giving the victim conflicting answers to the victim’s inquiries about the status of her money, on December 21, 2021, Francois reportedly sent her a funeral notice and pictures of a man in a coffin, telling the victim that the man they were doing business with. with was dead and the victim’s money would not be returned.
DOI investigators found that according to bank records, Francois allegedly deposited the $ 40,000 cashier’s check into his account on September 4, 2021, and that between September 8 and September 10, 2021, he withdrew a total of $ 39,937.43 from the same account. Francois did not have the permission or authority to take, use, possess or remove the $ 40,000 that the victim had given him with false pretenses.
During the incident, Francois was on sick leave from the DOC. Francois has been employed by the DOC since May 2013 and receives an annual base salary of $ 96,208. He has been suspended since the April 4 arrest. If Francois is convicted, he risks up to seven years in prison.
“Economic crimes can be devastating to victims and can lead to financial ruin,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “I would like to thank the City Department of Investigation and all those involved in bringing this case to my office. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to rectify the injustices of all those who have been victims. “
“Integrity is the most important quality that a law enforcement official should have, and when they fail someone’s trust, they fail that person and the agency they represent,” said DOC Commissioner Louis A. Molina. “We will not tolerate this type of alleged abusive behavior and if this person is found guilty, they will be disciplined and subjected to dismissal. I would like to thank the Department of Investigation and the Queens District Attorney’s office for their support.”