A Freeport woman is accused of making more than $355,000 in fraudulent transactions over a two-year period and depositing the proceeds into her bank account, Nassau County police said.
Nicole Simeona, 43, who police said worked in an accounts payable office for a Uniondale-based property management company, was arrested Wednesday afternoon by Major Case Bureau detectives and charged with second-degree grand larceny.
She was arraigned Thursday in First District Court in Hempstead. She pleaded not guilty and was released without cash bail, according to online court records.
Amanda Vitale, a Mineola-based attorney representing Simeona, said: "Our client adamantly denies the accusations … And we expect our client to be fully vindicated."
According to its web page, the company that employed Simeona, Blue Sky Hospitality Solutions, is a hotel and property manager that works with a number of major hotel chains, including Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, IHG, Choice, Wyndham and LaQuinta.
It manages several Long Island properties, including the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale, the Huntington Hilton, as well as properties nationwide — including hotels in Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Omaha, Nebraska and Mobile, Alabama.
Police said that in her capacity with Blue Sky, Simeona had access to company credit cards and, during a two-year period that ran from February 2021 to last February, Simeona initiated 77 fraudulent transactions totaling more than $347,300. She also used PayPal to pay two fraudulent transactions totaling an additional $7,995, police said.
The money from the transactions was transferred into Simeona's bank account, police said.
Police said the investigation was launched after a vendor who did not receive expected payments alerted Blue Sky to the potential fraud.
Blue Sky Chief Financial Officer Chintan Sheth confirmed Thursday that the company contacted police in March, after being alerted to accounting irregularities by one of their major vendors.
"We found something that was not making sense," Sheth said, adding: "We have been working with the police and we are glad they were able to gather all the evidence."
Sheth said Simeona had been employed by Blue Sky for "seven or eight years" and expressed disappointment at the events leading to her arrest.
"She was a trusted employee," Sheth said. "We trusted her, we trained her — so she can do the best she can … It is what it is. You can't trust people anymore."