Being a regular at a dining establishment can come with some perks; the servers knows what you like and you might even receive a free dessert here or there. But for one New York woman it also came with a rather big drawback: The waitress she befriended allegedly bilked her out of $500,000.
A Brooklyn woman was indicted on grand larceny, identity theft, and other charges for allegedly stealing $470,000 over a five-year period from an elderly customer she befriended while working at a Brooklyn diner.
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced the charges, accusing the 46-year-old of spending years gaining the trust of the elderly and vulnerable widow only to take advantage of her financially.
According to the indictment, the waitress began befriending the now 84-year-old woman in 2002 when she worked as a waitress at a restaurant the older customer frequented.
While the elderly woman gave the defendant permission to use her credit cards for small purchases at local drug stores and supermarkets, she allegedly took advantage of this trust.
Authorities claim that from June 2012 to Dec. 2016, the waitress stole more than $200,000 by cashing 75 checks written to herself or cash on the woman’s HSBC bank account; each of the checks contained the victim’s forged signature.
Then from March 2013 to April 2016, the waitress allegedly stole $277,789 by making unauthorized charges against the woman’s Citibank Sears Mastercard accounts.
These charges included $73,399 in cash advances and $204,390 in purchases from retailers such as Apple, JetBlue, Victoria’s Secret, Harrah’s in Atlantic City, Belmont Racetrack, and hotels, clubs and restaurants in Miami and other parts of Florida.
In addition to allegedly stealing more than $470,000, authorities claim that over the course of the friendship the waitress gained access to the woman’s personal information, including her date of birth, address, social security number, and bank and credit card information.
She then allegedly used this information to open additional lines of credit and create online profiles with horse-wagering websites such as TwinSpires and Churchill Downs.
In all, the waitress has been charged with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first-degree identity theft. She faces up to five to 15 years in prison if convicted on the top count.
She was ordered held on bail of $2.5 million and to return to court on December 6, 2017.