A woman from Montour Falls was arrested yesterday (October 15) and charged with grand larceny, after Ithaca investigators say she stole from her employer at a dentist’s office in the city while working as an office manager.
According to Ithaca Police, 56-year-old Kathy Harris “misappropriated 175 gift cards” belonging to her employer at Fall Creek Family Dentistry on N. Cayuga Street.
Officials say the thefts occurred over a period of five years.
Harris’ arrest comes at the end of a lengthy investigation by the Ithaca Police Department, Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department, and the Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office.
She was released on an appearance ticket to Ithaca City Court on October 23.
ALBANY – A former nun, who nearly 30 years ago was found to have defrauded a group of anesthesiologists, is being accused of draining nearly $1 million from an Albany dentist’s bank accounts. Dr. James McMahon Jr., who operates McMahon Family Dentistry and J. McMahon Properties, LLC, filed the civil lawsuit Sept. 20, accusing Mary Ann Fuina, 80, of making 37 unauthorized withdrawals from his accounts, totaling $961,000, and using shell companies to hide the withdrawals from McMahon. The lawsuit also names Fuina’s bookkeeping firm, Billing Electronic Systems Technology, of Colonie, Christine Mosher, an employee at the firm, Barbara O’Brien, the CEO of NorthEast IT Group, and Scott, Stackrow & Co., a Troy accounting firm that both McMahon and Fuina used. The withdrawals went to cover unspecified personal and business expenses for Fuina, according to the lawsuit. McMahon and his attorney, Donald Hillmann, declined to comment earlier this week. Phone numbers associated with Fuina were disconnected; a message to Billing Electronic Systems Technology was not returned. O’Brien and Mosher could not be reached for comment. No one answered the door at an Albany house that records suggest is Fuina’s home. A representative from Scott, Stackrow & Co., did not return a message asking for comment. In 1991, a federal jury found in a civil lawsuit that Fuina, a former Sister of Mercy, defrauded Capital District Professional Management Systems by using company assets for her own benefit and made unauthorized credit-card purchases and took loans. The group sued Fuina in 1989 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970, a law originally enacted to combat organized crime. According to Times Union archives, Fuina worked for Professional Management Systems, a medical billing company set up by the anesthesiologists, for 16 years before resigning in June 1989 to form a rival company, Billing Electronic Systems Technology. The jury awarded the group $750,000 in damages but did not find that Fuina violated the RICO Act. It does not appear that Fuina was ever criminally charged in that case. At that time, Fuina was also sued in state Supreme Court for shifting $200,000 in corporate funds into her own bank account and criminal theft of trade secrets when she set up her bookkeeping company before resigning from Professional Management Systems, according to Times Union archives. That lawsuit also named Barbara O’Brien, who left the billing group to go work with Fuina. The results of that lawsuit were not immediately available. The federal lawsuit alleged that while Fuina worked with Professional Management Services she ran up company debt to embezzle at least $60,000; submitted loan applications with fake signatures of company officers; charged to the firm thousands of dollars of personal purchases, including dog biscuits, bedsheets, a videocassette recorder and bicycle rack; billed the company for $5,510 worth of landscaping at her home; and sold to St. Peter’s Hospital for $19,330 part of the company’s leased telephone system. It also alleges that Fuina diverted $15,500 through a company called Showcase Construction to one of the three employees who resigned with her and had the company pay about $30,000 to a firm she owned and operated, Management Advice Financial Planning, for work that was never done. That firm, which was dissolved in 1990, played a key role in the new allegations, which lay out a simpler scheme. Beginning in early 2017, Fuina allegedly made periodic withdrawals from McMahon’s accounts, typically by taking money from the dentistry’s account or line of credit, moving it to the property LLC and then writing herself a check or writing checks to Management Advice & Future Planning, according to the lawsuit. The LLC later received a check from Management Advice Financial Planning, the firm that Fuina dissolved in 1990. According to the lawsuit and public records, O’Brien and Fuina are involved in each other’s businesses. The lawsuit claims, but does not exactly say how, that O’Brien either knew of the withdrawals or assisted with them. McMahon hired Fuina and the other defendants in September 2006 to provide services for the dentistry practice he took over from his father, as well for his personal and business accounts. And McMahon appeared to have no cause for complaint until early 2019 when M&T Bank alerted him about several large withdrawals from his accounts. It was unclear why the bank did not alert him of the withdrawals for nearly two years. Fuina allegedly made the first withdrawal on Jan. 4, 2017, taking $18,000 from one of McMahon’s accounts, according to a schedule of the alleged withdrawals filed with the lawsuit. Another $18,000 was withdrawn a month later, followed by $45,000 on Feb. 6, 2017, according to the withdrawal scheduled filed with the lawsuit. The withdrawals continued, with at least one a month through the end of the year. In August 2017 alone, Fuina allegedly withdrew a combined $101,000 from McMahon’s accounts. The schedule filed with the lawsuit indicates she made at least some attempts at replenishing the funds. Over a three-day period at the end of December 2017 $200,000 was put back into McMahon’s accounts. Five days later, Fuina allegedly made another $20,000 withdrawal. The complaint also alleges that Fuina overcharged McMahon $20,000 for her services and assumed responsibility a $100,000 loan McMahon made to her sister. Fuina allegedly used the funds for her personal use but the lawsuit does not specify what McMahon believes she spent the money on. When McMahon confronted her about the missing money, Fuina was evasive and McMahon didn’t learn the full extent of his losses until May 2019, according to the complaint. McMahon said Fuina admitted to taking the money and proposed a restitution plan but also claimed that the money was a loan that she had always intended to repay. In the complaint, McMahon’s attorney argues that Mosher, one of the Fuina’s employees who had access to McMahon’s check signature stamp, O’Brien, and the accounting firm all either had knowledge of the alleged thefts or should have realized what was going on. The lawsuit alleges, relying on the IP address, that Mosher’s computer was the one used to transfer funds. It does not allege that Mosher directly transferred the funds or received any of the money personally. It also alleges that since the Scott, Stackrow firm was the accountant for McMahon and Fuina, the firm should have realized that the large, periodic withdrawals were improper and violated the firm’s fiduciary duties. McMahon is asking for damages, interest and attorney’s fees. None of the plaintiffs filed a reply to the complaint as of Wednesday afternoon.
A former office manager in the dental clinic at 572-bed Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center was sentenced to one to three years in prison for embezzling more than $200,000 during a six-year period. Denise Rossi, 45, also was ordered to pay the hospital $100,000 in restitution.
A tip from another employee first alerted hospital administrators, who conducted a full-scale investigation before turning over their findings to the district attorney, a hospital spokesman said. Rossi, who had check-signing authority, took money paid by patients and insurance companies for dental services. Prosecutors said she used the money for credit card, car insurance and cable bills and car payments, and spent $3,000 to landscape her home. “We’re certainly glad an employee spoke up about this matter. That enabled us to look closely into it,” the spokesman said.
Back in 1857, they were the hottest names in old New-York. Harvey Burdell and Emma Cunningham — the violent, rapacious and brutally murdered society dentist and his scheming and probably murderous mistress, mutual antagonists in the most lurid true-crime drama of the age.
well over a century, the pair, essentially disowned by their families,
lay interred in unmarked graves a few hundred yards from each other in
Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, their whereabouts known only to a few
longer. Yesterday, before a rapt if small audience of retrospective
voyeurs, two sparkling granite headstones were unveiled: Harvey Burdell,
1811-1857. And Emma Augusta Hempstead Cunningham, 1818-1887. “May God
rest her troubled soul,” reads the inscription.
stones — and Mrs. Cunningham’s epitaph — are the doing of an amateur
historian sufficiently obsessed with the case to spend the last seven
years writing a book about it.
The man, Benjamin Feldman, a retired lawyer, real estate developer and Yiddishist, insisted that no endorsement of the couple’s evil ways was implied.
not a question of honoring them,” Mr. Feldman, a thin, ponytailed man
with the bearing of a merry undertaker, said after the graveside
service, news of which was published yesterday by AM New York. “It’s a
question of what in Hebrew is called ‘t’chiyat ha-metim’ — raising the
dead. You enlarge all of us when you bring these stories back to life.”
what a story. In their ever-spiraling battle of bad faith and
faithlessness, the two lovers managed to embody many of the ills of the
age: the rampant vice and political corruption, the straitened economic
and sexual circumstances of women and the destabilizing influence of new
wealth on traditional social structures.
tale, as lovingly told by Mr. Feldman in his book, “Butchery on Bond
Street,” boils down to this: Harvey Burdell was a dentist of humble
background who built a thriving practice in his four-story town house at
31 Bond Street, midway between the vice dens of the Bowery and the
glitzier honky-tonk of lower Broadway. In his spare time, Dr. Burdell,
who was divorced, enjoyed gambling, sexual predation and real estate
Cunningham was a young widow with five children and was desperately
seeking a man who could support her and her brood in the manner to which
she had grown accustomed. She had been married to a distiller who had
squandered most of his family’s fortune.
one alive knows precisely how Emma met Harvey, but once they got
together, in or around 1854, things got pretty intense. They returned
from a whirlwind trip to Saratoga Springs, N.Y., with Mrs. Cunningham
pregnant. She wanted to keep the baby. He did not. She had an abortion,
possibly performed by him.
if not persistent, Mrs. Cunningham insinuated herself into the
dentist’s household as the landlady of the rooming house he ran out of
his building. They continued their dalliance. She claimed he raped her
twice, according to court papers.
“It was not a comfortable relationship,” Mr. Feldman observed.
Cunningham tried everything to get Dr. Burdell to agree to tie the
knot. She had him arrested for breach of promise to marry. In secret,
she did marry a man who told the minister he was Harvey Burdell, but who
was almost undoubtedly an impostor.
months after the ceremony, on Jan. 31, 1857, Dr. Burdell was found dead
in his dental clinic. More precisely, according to The New-York Daily
Times, “the body was lying upon the floor, shockingly mutilated, and
surrounded with clots of blood, and the door and walls of the room
besmeared with blood.”
to be outdone, The New York Herald described 6 of the 15 stab wounds.
“Twice the steel had pierced the heart, twice the lungs had been reached
with the deadly point of the stiletto, while the jugular vein and the
carotid artery were both severed,” it said, according to Mr. Feldman’s
the case really took off. The coroner’s inquest was held in Dr.
Burdell’s office, with witnesses testifying in the chair where his
patients had recently sat. A recommendation that one of the dead man’s
eyeballs be excised and his retina examined for traces of what, or whom,
he saw in his dying moments was proposed and discarded. Mrs. Cunningham
threw herself on the open coffin and cried, “Oh, I wish to God you
could speak and tell who done it.”
than 8,000 people tried to cram into Grace Church on Broadway at 10th
Street for his funeral. Soon after, she was charged with the murder.
There being no witnesses, and her lawyer arguing successfully that a
member of the weaker sex afflicted with rheumatism was incapable of such
a brutal attack, she was acquitted. (Mr. Feldman said he believed that
Mrs. Cunningham had a prominent role in the murder even if she did not
commit it herself.)
free, Mrs. Cunningham tackled her next mission: obtaining Dr. Burdell’s
estate, estimated at $80,000. But her claim to be carrying his child
was proven false when she was caught taking delivery of another woman’s
baby to call her own. And her insistence that she had married Dr.
Burdell similarly unraveled in the face of testimony that another
paramour had been seen buying a toupee and false whiskers the day of the
wedding in order to resemble Dr. Burdell.
Cunningham died a pauper at the age of 69. Harvey Burdell’s murder was
never solved. Both were eventually forgotten, until Jeffrey I. Richman,
the historian of Green-Wood Cemetery, read an account of the case and
included it in a book about the cemetery. Mr. Feldman bought the book in
2000, and a fixation was born. Mr. Feldman and the cemetery split the
$6,500 cost of the grave markers.
as a large spider crept across Emma Cunningham’s tombstone in the crisp
sunlight, Mr. Feldman recalled his excitement when he first read the
twisted tale of Harvey Burdell and Emma Cunningham.
“The interplay between them,” he said, “is one of the most hideous, dysfunctional, psychopathic couplings between man and woman that I’ve ever read. I knew I had to see their graves appropriately marked.”
Howard Pilmar, a successful New York businessman, was found dead inside his Manhattan office on March 21, 1996 — a slaying that shocked New Yorkers because of its brutality.
Pilmar’s throat was slashed and he was stabbed 48 times. The attack
continued after his heart stopped beating and his body was left on the
floor, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a news release.
Investigators spent more than two decades looking for his killers and
finally arrested two people in 2017 — Pilmar’s widow, Roslyn Pilmar,
then 60, and her brother, Evan Wald, then 43.
Friday, a jury found them guilty of second-degree murder.
Wald’s lawyer could not be reached for comment Saturday. Sanford
Talkin, Roslyn Pilmar’s lawyer, told CNN, “We are disappointed in the
verdict and plan to appeal and continue to fight the case.”
Prosecutors said Roslyn Pilmar had financial problems and benefited from her husband’s death.
She managed the coffee shops started by her husband inside his office
supply stores and owed $15,000 in unpaid state taxes on that part of
the business, the district attorney’s office said. Wald also worked in
the coffee shops.
In early 1996, before Howard’s death, Roslyn Pilmar’s former
employer, a dentist’s office, demanded reimbursement of approximately
$200,000 it claimed she had stolen from the business, prosecutors said.
In the news release, the district attorney’s office said Roslyn
Pilmar and her brother requested keys to the building where Howard
Pilmar’s office was located and asked for information about how to close
the office at night and where the video cameras were located in the
“Then on March 21, 1996, the defendants met the victim at his
office,” the district attorney said. Howard Pilmar’s body was found the
next morning by the company’s controller.
After her husband’s death, Pilmar received around $1.2 million in
life insurance benefits, according to the district attorney. She also
received ownership of Howard Pilmar’s businesses, two homes and custody
of the couple’s then 10-year-old son.
Roslyn Pilmar used the money to repay her debts, the DA’s office
said. On April 30, 1999, she pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the
second degree for the theft from her former employer. After paying back
the stolen funds, she was sentenced to probation.
The investigation found new life in 2013 after police found witnesses
with new information and new evidence, blood at the crime scene that
was a match to Evan Wald, Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Lederer
“For nearly 23 years, Roslyn Pilmar and Evan Wald evaded justice for
their gruesome crime and thought they would get away with it, but today,
a jury rightfully found them guilty of Murder in the Second Degree for
planning Mr. Pilmar’s murder together and acting in concert to carry out
the cold-blooded killing,” Vance said.
“I thank the prosecutors in my Office’s Cold Case and Forensic Sciences Unit and NYPD detectives for more than two decades of dedication to this case and ensuring that Howard’s death was never forgotten.”
Law enforcement agents extracted a former Flushing dental office manager and hauled her to court on charges that she allegedly stole thousands in insurance payments to the clinic.
Prosecutors said that Manhattan’s Katerin Rochet, 37, was picked up on Jan. 9 on a nine-count indictment charging her with third-degree grand larceny, first-degree falsifying business records, criminal possession of a forged instrument and identity theft.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Rochet allegedly stole more than $35,000 in insurance payments made to the Flushing Dental Group, located at 39-01 Main St., where she worked as an office manager.
“[She] used her position to steal from the people who gave her a job,” Brown said in a Jan. 10 press release. “In deliberate acts of deception, the defendant is accused of opening several bank accounts in the dental office’s name — posing as the president of the office — and then swiped the insurance checks that were intended for the dental practice. This kind of brazen thievery will not be tolerated.”
Brown said the theft took place between January and May 2017, while Rochet was employed by Flushing Dental Group. She allegedly forged an official record from the Department of State’s Division of Corporations with the office president’s name, then used it to open several bank accounts.
Within a few months, authorities said, Rochet allegedly collected more than $35,000 in insurance checks intended for Flushing Dental Group. She allegedly deposited the checks into the accounts that she opened, then funneled the money into a bank account that her mother owned.
The scheme was unraveled through an investigation by the NYPD Queens District Attorney’s Detective Squad.
At her Jan. 9 arraignment, Rochet was ordered held on $25,000 bail and to return to court on March 14. She faces between 3 1/2 and 7 years behind bars if convicted.
A Lockport lawyer accused of stealing more than $63,000 from the proceeds of a real estate sale told an investigator that he spent the money on his 26-year-old son’s dental work.
“It went in my kid’s mouth,” Edward R. Thiel told Investigator William Thomson of the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office, according to court papers.
Thomson interviewed Thiel at Thiel’s apartment in May, more than two years after the sale.
“He has had serious dental issues for the last four years,” Thiel told Thomson. “It has cost me everything. I gave him the last of my money this morning to go to the dentist.”
Thiel, 73, a former Niagara County assistant public defender, pleaded not guilty to second-degree grand larceny at his arraignment Tuesday in Lockport City Court. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in state prison.
The victims of the alleged theft are the four children of Donald K. Beutel of Wilson, a farmer and greenhouse owner who died in 2011.
He left his property at 4740 Chestnut Road in equal shares to his four grown children. They decided to sell the property to Eric W. Beutel, one of Donald’s grandchildren.
On Sept. 2, 2014, a closing for the deal was held at the Niagara County Clerk’s Office in Lockport. Thiel was Donald Beutel’s longtime personal attorney, according to William Beutel, the only one of the four siblings who lives in Niagara County.
William Beutel, in a sworn statement, said Eric Beutel brought a check for more than $7,000 to the closing, which was to be combined with mortgage money for a total of $63,684.54. Thiel took the checks and was supposed to deposit them in an escrow account.
“Mr. Thiel was to divide the proceeds from the sale by four and distribute this money to myself and my three siblings,” William Beutel said in his statement. “To this day, we have not received any money, not one cent. We made numerous attempts to resolve this matter by contacting Mr. Thiel. He never responded. In addition to that, he wouldn’t respond to us to close out the estate, either.”
William S. Beutel, who lives in Wilson, said he hasn’t talked to Thiel in at least two years.
“I don’t want to talk to him. I just want my money, and get out of my life,” Beutel said in an interview Thursday.
Niagara County Surrogate’s Court records show that County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III tried repeatedly to get Thiel to court to close out Donald Beutel’s estate, starting in 2014. At one point, the court sent Thiel a letter threatening to fine him $2,500 if he did not show up.
It took two years before Thiel filed the mandatory accounting of the estate’s assets in August 2016.
On Sept. 20, Lockport attorney Walter E. Moxham Jr. informed the court that he had taken over the estate file because Thiel was “no longer practicing law.”
The estate work was finished in 10 days, but the money from the siblings’ sale of the Chestnut Road property remains missing.
Thiel, during his May 8 meeting with Thomson of the District Attorney’s Office, acknowledged the sale proceeds were supposed to go to the children of Donald Beutel, according to the court file.
“When asked if they got the money, he said, ‘No,’ ” Thomson wrote.
When Thomson said the Beutels want their money, Thiel answered, “Well, we will have to get them their money from the attorneys’ fund,” according to court papers.
That appears to be a reference to the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, maintained by the state to reimburse people who have lost money to dishonest lawyers. Thomson, according to the report, told Thiel that he would have to be arrested before that process could begin.
At the arraignment, City Judge Thomas M. DiMillo released Thiel on his own recognizance.
An Ozone Park, Queens, woman was arrested Tuesday for allegedly stealing money from a Manhasset dental office for nearly nine years.
Erika Lucassi, 36, was working as an office manager at Manhasset Dental on Northern Boulevard, detectives said in a news release, when she began writing fraudulent business checks to herself in January 2009 and continued through December 2017. The amount of the checks was not disclosed.
Detectives said around 9:45 a.m. on Dec. 16 Lucassi also stole an undisclosed amount of cash.
Lucassi is charged with second-degree larceny and first-degree falsifying business records and was arrested without incident.
She was set to be arraigned Wednesday in Nassau County First District Court.
A woman who worked in a local dental office is accused of stealing money from patients.
On Friday, New Windsor Police arrested 32-year-old Carmen Alvarado-Green of Wallkill on four-counts of falsifying business records, grand larceny, felonies, and three misdemeanor counts of petit larceny.The arrest came after a two-month investigation by the Town of New Windsor Police Department’s Detective Division. The investigation revealed that Alvarado-Green altered business records and stole money from patients at Windsor Dental, located in the Town of New Windsor, police say.
Alvarado-Green was arraigned in New Windsor Court. Bail was set at $10,000 cash or $25,000 bond. She was later released after posting bond.