A Richmond Hill woman who was a trusted housekeeper for an elderly couple, was indicted by a grand jury and arraigned Wednesday, Aug. 18, in Queens Supreme Court on grand larceny and other charges, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
Ondina Flores, 52, was arraigned before QueensSupreme Court Justice Cassandra Mullen on a 105-count indictment alleging the defendant embezzled more than $72,000 from her employers’ bank account over a period of four years.
According to the charges, for more than 15 years Flores was a housekeeper for an elderly couple and following the death of the husband, the couple’s son continued to have Flores clean his deteriorating mother’s home and assist with paying some of the recurring bills. Having the power of attorney for his mother, the son regularly signed checks against his parent’s bank accounts and gave them to the defendant to fill in the payee and the amount of the bills.
After the son’s mother died, Katz said the victim then hired the defendant to be a housekeeper at his own home in Queens. But one day, according to the charges, the son and his wife observed Flores on video surveillance allegedly rummaging through their personal papers in an unauthorized location inside their home. They also caught her disconnecting the wires to cut the video feed. This prompted the son to review bank statements of his mother’ bank accounts, which revealed that Flores had allegedly been stealing from the mother’s bank accounts by writing numerous checks payable to cash.
A joint investigation by the Queens DA’s office and the NYPD concluded that between January 2015 and June 2019, Flores allegedly diverted 103 checks in various accounts by making them payable to cash, endorsing the back of the checks, and either depositing them into her own bank accounts or cashing them out at a Chase branch in Queens. In that period, Flores is accused of stealing more than $72,000 from her employer’s bank accounts.
“The defendant was a long-time employee, entrusted to not only clean the home of her employer but to also help pay the bills following the death of the elderly woman’s husband,” Katz said. “She betrayed all that trust and allegedly began embezzling money instead of paying the bills. In custody, the defendant now faces very serious charges.”
Justice Mullen ordered Flores to return to court on Sept. 29. If convicted, Flores faces up to 15 years in prison.