Federal authorities arrested a Massapequa woman Thursday for allegedly embezzling more than $4 million from the Manhattan business management firm she worked for and its clients to pay for cosmetic surgery, her wedding, travel, lavish parties and other luxuries.
Prosecutors said Carmen Miranda, 50, appeared before a judge in Manhattan federal court later in the day in connection with charges of wire fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft before her release on $750,000 bond.
The bond was partially secured by her home and two financially responsible people, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Miranda's Garden City attorney, Kevin Kearon, said in a statement Thursday afternoon that the defense was "evaluating the charges" and would comment further "at the appropriate time."
The defendant, who also goes by Millie Miranda, worked as an account manager for the Manhattan company — which federal officials didn’t name — for about eight years until her firing in January, according to a federal postal inspector's affidavit.
The document says Miranda’s alleged scheme began to unravel when the owner of the business, which represents people and companies in the entertainment industry, investigated why a client’s account was overdrawn and saw a check forgery that sparked a review of accounts to uncover the extent of the fraud.
“For years, Carmen Miranda allegedly pilfered funds from her employer and clients for her own benefit,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a prepared statement. “She used the stolen funds to live a lifestyle she could not afford, purchasing expensive trips, luxury items, and throwing lavish parties. Her dishonesty led to serious disruptions in her employer’s and its clients’ businesses.”
Miranda allegedly charged more than $1.7 million on a single client credit card after adding herself to the account as an authorized user, funding clothing purchases, vacations, restaurant meals, tuition and car service trips starting in late 2015, officials said.
In all, prosecutors say she allegedly added herself as an authorized user on two client credit cards, used two other credit cards issued to a client’s employees and wrote checks and sent electronic fund transfers out of the clients’ accounts to fund her greed.
Then to hide that she allegedly had stolen and spent client funds, Miranda transferred funds from the accounts of different clients, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Authorities said Miranda faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty of the bank fraud charge, up to 20 years in prison if convicted of wire fraud and a mandatory penalty of two years behind bars if it’s proven she committed aggravated identity theft.