A special-education teacher who lost her certification was sentenced to 1 1⁄2 to 3 years in prison Monday for stealing the identities of two licensed teachers, including one from Merrick, to continue working, officials said.
Aimee Stark, 42, of Westchester, pleaded guilty on Nov. 21 before State Supreme Court Justice Angelo Delligatti to first-degree scheme to defraud, a felony, according to a news release from the Nassau County district attorney’s office.
“To continue teaching after her certification was revoked, this defendant stole the identities of certified teachers and billed education providers in their names,” District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “The safety of our kids is paramount, and we expect teachers to have the qualifications and integrity to provide children with the education that they deserve.”
Singas added, “ I am glad that the NCPD [Nassau County Police Department] and our prosecutors were able to end this charade before more children were impacted.”
Most of the children were infants up to 5 years old who lived or attended day care in Brooklyn, according to Singas’ office, and Stark visited them at their homes or at their day care facility. Prosecutors said they did not believe Stark was involved with any children on Long Island though agencies on Long Island as well as others in New York City and Westchester were involved.
Singas said that Stark, who also stole the identity of a teacher from Pound Ridge, Westchester, admitted to using forged identifications, including photocopies of altered Social Security cards and driver’s licenses in the victims’ names, to obtain employment as an in-home provider of services to special-needs children after her teaching license was revoked.
Stark earned more than $57,063.44 in wages from April 1, 2014, until Jan. 8, 2016, using the forged identities, Singas said, noting civil judgments will be issued to the four different agencies she defrauded and from whom she received wages.
According to authorities, in November 2014, the first victim, a longtime friend of Stark’s, was notified by her employer that there was a complaint about fraudulent billing. The licensed teacher was told that “she” had submitted an invoice for a session in Nassau County and a session in Westchester County that occurred at the same time when the woman employed was actually Stark.
The victim contacted Nassau police and the New York State Education Department, and Stark was arrested by members of Nassau police’s First Precinct on Jan. 15, 2015.
Other incidents included one in April 2015, while the original case was pending. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Provider Oversight Unit found Stark used the victim’s identity and had obtained employment with numerous other agencies that provided in-home services to special-needs children who were up to 3 years old.
In November 2015, an owner of a Nassau County agency that services special-needs children contacted the district attorney’s office when she noticed irregularities in an application for work in the name of the second victim, a licensed teacher.
The original case was brought to the district attorney’s office from the Nassau Police Department’s First Squad.
Stark’s teaching license was revoked by the state Department of Education in 2014.
On Dec. 16, 2016, in Westchester County, Singas said, the defendant admitted to violating her felony in prison. The defendant’s Nassau County sentence of 1 1⁄2 to 3 years will be served concurrently.