A West Babylon woman pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing more than $316,000 from a Great Neck contracting company where she worked as a bookkeeper.
Onesta Reyes, 49, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 11. She pleaded guilty second-degree grand larceny.
Reyes inflated her salary, created fake employees and reimbursed herself for phony expenses, and used the money to buy clothing, shoes and jewelry at Macy’s and other stores, according to the Nassau County District Attorney’s office.
“In this case, the shock of someone stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from her employer to update her wardrobe is matched only by the brazen manner in which she committed these crimes,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. “Though this defendant used almost every trick in the book to steal from her employer, in the end she could not escape the consequences of her actions.”
"Onesta feels terrible about what happened, and she hopes that her guilty plea will help to begin to make amends," Reyes' attorney, Daniel Graber, told Newsday.
Rice said that between January 2011 and May 2012, Reyes embezzled a total of $316,639.40 in gross earnings and unearned reimbursements from her employer. Her duties as a bookkeeper included overseeing payroll and billings. She used her access to the payroll system to inflate her 2011 yearly salary from $48,720 to $239,893.
Reyes also reimbursed herself more than $89,000 in fraudulent expenses between January 2011 and November 2011, according to the DA’s office. Reyes also created a second employee under the name “Onesta V. Reyes,” whose gross salary was $22,729 between October 2011 and December 2011. Reyes stole an additional $1,500 in bogus expenses during that time period, and stole an additional $11,815 between April 2012 and May 2012.
The theft was discovered in May 2012 by an internal audit and referred to the DA’s office for investigation. Reyes was terminated in June 2012.Prosecutors are requesting two to six years in prison, and $316,639.40 in restitution to her employer.