A New Jersey man was indicted by a Queens grand jury and criminally charged with insurance fraud in the theft of $2.6 million from a trust fund, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
David Liu, 36, of Garfield, NJ, was arraigned in Queens Supreme Court on Nov. 15 on a nine-count indictment charging him with grand larceny in the first degree and other crimes. Liu is accused of transferring the money to bank accounts he created by using an alias and spending the cash to buy Cartier jewelry and other luxury items, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Monday.
According to the charges, in October 2022, Liu made a request for the maximum loan amount available from a family trust held by the New York Life Insurance Company, though he had no connection to the northeast Queens family or the trust. He requested that the payment be made to an address other than what was on file with New York Life. The request was denied. On Nov. 18, 2022, Liu made the request again. This time the request was approved.
On Dec. 6, 2022, a check for $2,619,433 was made payable to the trust and sent to the address Liu had provided. A week later, on Dec. 13, Liu opened both a checking and a savings account at a Chase bank in Flushing using an alias, according to the charges. He deposited the $2.6 million.
Liu made a series of cash withdrawals and also took money out through cashier’s checks at various Chase branches. Additionally, he made wire transfers from the accounts and purchased goods using a debit card.
Video surveillance footage from retailers shows Liu purchasing a drone at a Best Buy and shopping at Cartier in Manhasset, where he purchased $192,603 worth of jewelry. He also spent $169,169 at a Manhattan watch store and $14,038 at two Apple stores.
By Jan. 25, 2023, a little more than a month after receiving the $2.6 million, Liu had drained all the money in the two accounts, the charges allege. Liu was arrested on Wednesday, Nov. 15, and New York Life Insurance Company made the trust fund whole, according to prosecutors.
Liu was also charged with criminal possession of stolen property, three counts of falsifying business records, insurance fraud and other crimes.
“A brazen scheme drained an unsuspecting family’s account of $2.6 million that the defendant managed to burn through in a matter of weeks,” Katz said. “He will be held accountable for his alleged greed and thievery.”
Queens Supreme Court Justice Toni Cimino ordered Liu to return to court on Dec. 18. If convicted, Liu faces up to 25 years in prison.