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DOC Captain Allegedly Used Fake Obituary Notice to Cheat Woman Out of $40,000

A city Justice Department captain allegedly hatched a $40,000 scam by soliciting cash from a woman and then faking the death of her alleged 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 on sick leave at the time, met the victim outside his home in Jamaica on September 3 and took a bank check for $40,000. According to city officials, he promised her $55,000 in October.

On December 21, Francois reportedly sent the woman an obituary notice and pictures of a man in a coffin – telling her the man they were doing business with was dead and that her money would not be returned.

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

Francois has been with the department since May 2013 and earns a base salary of approximately $96,000, the DOI statement said.

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

He was released at his own request and is scheduled to appear in court on June 21.

“As alleged in the lawsuit, this defendant promised to invest the victim’s $40,000 for a profit, but instead stole the funds, enriched himself at the victim’s expense, and broke the law,” DOI Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber said in a statement.

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

“This defendant is a senior member of DOC’s regulatory staff whose integrity must be a top priority. I thank the Queens Attorney’s office and the city’s Department of Justice for their partnership in this investigation,” she added.

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

DOC Commissioner Louis Molina said that “Integrity is the most important quality a law enforcement officer must have, and when they betray someone’s trust, they are failing that person and the agency they represent.”

“We will not tolerate this type of allegedly shameful behavior and if found guilty, that person will be disciplined and face termination,” Molina added in a statement.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/25/doc-captain-allegedly-used-fake-funeral-notice-to-scam-woman-out-of-40k/ DOC Captain Allegedly Used Fake Obituary Notice to Cheat Woman Out of $40,000

JACLYN DIAZ

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