GLEN COVEImmigrant scheme arrest
A Glen Cove woman was charged yesterday with stealing more than $30,000 from immigrants from El Salvador by convincing them she would act as their "banker," Nassau prosecutors said.
Norma Espinoza, 37, was charged with three counts of third-degree grand larceny, two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny and a single count of first-degree scheme to defraud, prosecutors said. Nassau District Court Judge Joseph Girardi set bail at $5,000 cash or bond. Espinoza's Legal Aid attorney could not be reached for comment.
Espinoza masterminded the scam under the guise of a savings club commonly known in the El Salvadorian community as a "Cuchubal," prosecutors said.
Espinoza began the "Cuchubal" in 2012, asking a group of immigrants to make regular $200 weekly cash contributions to a common fund, which she agreed to maintain and disburse as a lump sum to each member on a rotating basis on a certain date, prosecutors said.
But when the time came for the members to "withdraw" their funds according to the schedule that Espinoza had given them, she gave excuses for not making the promised payments, prosecutors said. Two members were able to obtain a partial payment after they went to Espinoza's Glen Cove home and demanded full payment of the promised funds. Prosecutors said she has not refunded a total of $30,700.
If convicted of the top charge, Espinoza faces 21/3 to seven years in prison.
FRANKLIN SQUARETeller faces larceny charge
A Hempstead woman surrendered to police yesterday, charged with helping steal almost $14,000 from a bank where she worked in Franklin Square, police said.
Shakayra Lewis, 25, of 600 Fulton Ave., was charged with third-degree grand larceny, a felony, following her arrest by Crimes Against Property Squad detectives at Nassau County police headquarters in Mineola at 10 a.m. She was to be arraigned yesterday in First District Court in Hempstead, police said.
Police are still searching for an accomplice, identified only as a "male subject." Police said that the theft occurred on Dec. 6.
Lewis, employed as a teller at the Roslyn Savings Bank branch on Franklin Avenue, "used an account not belonging to her or the unknown male subject" to deposit three checks -- totaling $13,850, police said. The unidentified male twice used the defendant's work station to do transactions.
SAYVILLESearch for assault suspect
Suffolk County police and Crime Stoppers are trying to find a man suspected of assaulting a woman in Sayville earlier this month.
Police said yesterday the suspect and his victim rode on the same Long Island Rail Road train that stopped at the Sayville station early on the morning of March 12.
The man followed the woman for several blocks before assaulting her at Hiddink Street and Lincoln Avenue at about 12:20 a.m., police said.
The woman told police she saw the suspect before the assault, at the Bay Shore train station; he was possibly heading to the Mastic-Shirley area, police said in a news release.
Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477.