By Bill Parry
Members of the 108th Precinct Detective Squad, the Queens North Homicide Squad and the Queens district attorney “worked tirelessly since August of 2015” to solve a crime that stunned Long Island City and Sunnyside last year, according to Capt. John Travaglia, the commanding officer of the 108th.
A former accountant at a Skillman Avenue non-profit and two others are accused of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars and conspiring to throw acid on the organization’s executive director to cover up their scam, according to the DA’s office.
“This was a complicated and complex case that was often frustrating, but the perseverance of the investigative team knew no bounds,” Travaglia said. “Evil of this nature will never be tolerated.”
DA Richard Brown and Police Commissioner William Bratton announced Tuesday that a grand jury had indicted three people, including a former employee at the non-profit, and variously charged them with embezzling more than $750,000 and then attacking the organization’s executive director with a caustic liquid substance in an effort to conceal the alleged theft.
Kim Williams, 47, of the Bronx, who formerly worked as an accountant at Hospital Audiences, Inc. at 33-02 Skillman Ave.; Pia Louallen, 41, of the Bronx; and Jerry Mohammed, 32, of Rensselaer County, have all been indicted for their suspected roles in the embezzlement and/or the assault, according to the DA.
Williams and Mohammed were charged with throwing the caustic liquid in the woman’s face outside the non-profit’s offices in the attack on Aug. 19, Brown said.
“The case is troubling on so many different levels,” he said. “In an atmosphere of such giving, it is disheartening to see an individual allegedly use her position of fiduciary trust to siphon off tens of thousands in funds for the personal use of herself and another. More disturbing, perhaps, is the same individual allegedly conspiring with another individual to intentionally seriously injure an innocent victim as part of a cover-up. The three defendants now face serious charges.”
According to the charges, Williams stole more than $600,000 from Hospital Audiences, Inc., the non-profit that provides access to the various arts to students and the less fortunate, between 2012 and 2015, and provided Louallen, a close friend, with an additional $150,000 of the illegal proceeds between 2013 and 2015. In an attempt to allegedly conceal her theft, Williams conspired with Mohammed to commit an assault and on the evening of Aug. 19, Mohammed waited for the executive director, Rev. D. Alexandra Dyer, to leave work, the DA said.
As Dyer approached her vehicle on Skillman Avenue, Mohammed threw a caustic substance at her, causing severe burns to her face and other portions of the body, which required multiple surgeries.
Louallen and Mohammed were arraigned Tuesday by Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak while Williams was arrested by New Jersey State troopers at a rest stop Monday night. He is awaiting an extradition hearing.
“As alleged, the investigation revealed the defendants embezzled and then severely injured the victim in an elaborate cover-up scheme,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said. “Today, three find themselves under arrest for this brazen crime.”
Together, the three defendants face a 65-count indictment. If convicted, Louallen faces up to 15 years in prison, Williams faces up to 25 years in prison, and Mohammed faces up to 25 years to life in prison, according to the DA.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr