In a move reminiscent of “doubling down,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. is showing us all that he has earned his chops as New York’s top prosecutor (and 90th President of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York). Unfortunately, for two accused felons, these chops are being achieved, in part, on their respective backs. According to the press releases of two unrelated arrests, Fordin Francois and Edward Lewando are alleged to have committed the crime of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law 155.40) for stealing more than $700,000 and $300,000 respectively.
Prosecutors believe that Francois, a personal banker at JP Morgan Chase, defrauded at least seventeen bank accounts between January and June 2012. It appears that after obtaining personal identifying information of the bank’s clients, Francois shared this information with others who posed as account holders and made wire transfers. Additionally, it is believed that the fake checks were deposited into the accounts and ultimately drawn upon. Compounding matters, prosecutors claim that Francois had a briefcase with personal identifying information of JP Morgan Chase banking clients.
Beyond Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Francois also faces ten counts of First Degree Identity Theft and seventeen counts of Computer Trespass.
In a separate fraud and theft case, Manhattan prosecutors also claim that Lewando perpetrated Second Degree Grand Larceny after he was arrested for stealing over $300,000 from a woman who suffered from dementia during a two year period. Unlike Francois who was in fact a personal banker, Lewando posed as a personal banker at City National Bank. Lewando had worked at the bank, but in another capacity. During his employment it is believed that Lewando accessed the woman’s account and sought her out. Even after he was terminated, it is alleged that Lewando brought both real and fake checks to the older woman for her signature. Prosecutors assert that Lewando used these hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay his own credit card bills and purchase luxury items from Louis Vuitton, Bergdorf Goodman.
In addition to the arrest charge of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Lewando is also charged with Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree.
If convicted, both men face up to five to fifteen years in state prison on the Grand Larceny and Stolen Property charges respectively. Francois also faces up to two and one third to seven years for the Identity Theft and one and one third to four years for the Computer Trespass.
What defense is best suited for each of these defendants and how their respective attorneys implement those defenses is yet to be seen. Should there be convictions, I am confident a followup press release will set out more facts and information.
To find out more about Grand Larceny, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, Identity Theft and Computer Trespass, follow the highlighted links. There you will find Saland Law PC’s analysis of the statutes as well as a review of pertinent legal decisions.
Beyond these links, New-York-Lawyers.org and the NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com offer tremendous resources. Those links and others are found below.
Established by two former Manhattan prosecutors, Saland Law PC is a New York criminal defense firm. The New York criminal defense attorneys at Saland Law PC represent clients accused of white collar and fraud crimes throughout the New York City area.