NEW YORK - Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and United States Secret Service New York Field Office Special Agent in Charge Patrick Freaney today announced that two men were arraigned on an indictment in which they are variously charged with grand larceny and other charges for allegedly stealing approximately $227,000 from an elderly woman. One of the individuals, a former neighbor of the 94-year-old woman, allegedly facilitated the theft using a Power of Attorney.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “It is always heartbreaking to me to see individuals with access to a senior citizen’s life savings, such as through a power of attorney, allegedly abuse that trust to enrich themselves. We will now seek to hold these defendants accountable for their alleged actions. I thank the Secret Service and my prosecutors for their work on this case.”
Special Agent in Charge Freaney said, “Elder fraud remains a serious problem, and this case is yet another example of the danger posed to the elderly by individuals who seek to take advantage of that community through financial fraud and identity theft. The Secret Service is proud to partner with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, and we look forward to our continued partnership in combatting fraudulent activity.”
The District Attorney said that the defendants Humberto Nunez, 66, of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and Mahilima Baa, 50, of Stuyvesant Heights, Brooklyn are variously charged in a five-count indictment with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of stolen property and first-degree identity theft. Nunez was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jill Konviser and Baa was arraigned on June 13, 2022. Both defendants were released without bail and ordered to return to court on August 5, 2022.
The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between July 19, 2019, and January 7, 2020, the defendants, who are acquaintances, allegedly stole approximately $52,000 from a former business account associated with 684 Quality Cleaners, which was owned by Nunez’s former neighbor, who is now 96 years old. Nunez was allegedly given power of attorney by the woman prior to her becoming incapacitated and having a guardian appointed.
Furthermore, it is alleged, between July 15, 2019, and January 7, 2020, the defendants stole approximately $175,000 from an account established using the power of attorney, which represented the proceeds of a reverse mortgage the victim had since 2009.
Furthermore, it is alleged, defendant Baa allegedly stole another $28,000 by impersonating the victim.
It is alleged that the defendants used the proceeds to pay for their own personal expenses, including credit card payments, restaurants, and Amazon and Best Buy purchases.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service New York Field Office and Detective Investigators assigned to the District Attorney’s Investigations Bureau.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Karen Turner, of the District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gregory Pavlides, Frauds Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Michel Spanakos, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division and Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the Investigations Division.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
Originally published by the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office here.