A Westchester grand jury on Thursday indicted a former aide to then-Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone for allegedly skimming money from the city's 2011 Thanksgiving Turkey Drive and shredding documents to cover it up.
Lorraine Lopez, 45, was charged with third-degree grand larceny, tampering with public records and official misconduct. She faces up to seven years in state prison.
The indictment charged that the former special assistant to Amicone stole more than $3,000 of the $6,900 received in donations to buy ingredients for Thanksgiving dinners that would be given to charities.
"The allegations in this indictment are stark; this defendant pocketed thousands of dollars in donations made expressly for a charity holiday food drive, putting herself and her wants and desires before those of hundreds of needy families in the City of Yonkers," District Attorney Janet DiFiore said in a statement after the indictment was unsealed. "It is this kind of conduct that erodes the public's trust and confidence in our government."
Lopez, of 202 Hayward St., Yonkers, surrendered to Yonkers police Thursday morning. Bail was set at $2,500 and Lopez was scheduled to appear in court May 8.
Calls to the Legal Aid Society of Westchester County, which is handling Lopez's defense, were not immediately returned.
An investigation was launched after Yonkers Contracting, which contributed $6,900 toward the drive, contacted city officials to see how the money was spent and no records of purchases could be found.
According to the indictment: Lopez told investigators she fed about 250 families through the Turkey Drive, but did not donate the turkeys through charities as had been done in the past. She said she bought 100 turkeys in the Bronx but could not remember where and did not have a receipt. She also said she bought items from a dollar store and a ShopRite supermarket on Tuckahoe Road, but did not have receipts.
Lopez acknowledged shredding all paperwork associated with the turkey drive and taking $2,100 for herself and volunteers, but denied taking additional funds, the indictment said.