A Hempstead accountant faces five to 15 years in prison for stealing more than $320,000 from two clients over a span of five years, making unauthorized cash withdrawals and in some cases wiring money to his account in Colombia, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.

Francisco Esquivel, 65, of Baldwin was arraigned Thursday before Nassau First District CourtJudge Erica Prager on charges of grand larceny in the second degree and four counts of grand larceny in the third degree, both felonies. He pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance.

“Mr. Esquivel has served countless clients in the Hempstead community for over two decades,” said Esquivel’s attorney Brian Griffin, who is based in Garden City. “We will vigorously defend these charges.”

From 2012 to 2017, Esquivel embezzled $327,499 from two local business owners who had hired Esquivel’s accounting firm LoreFrank in Hempstead to help them pay taxes and manage payrolls, Nassau prosecutors said.

“His alleged conduct is especially egregious because not only did he abuse the trust of his clients, but those clients still must pay taxes for the years they were defrauded,” Singas said in a statement Thursday.

In one case, prosecutors said Esquivel’s client didn’t realize anything was amiss until he received a notice from IRS in early 2018, informing him that he had owned more than $60,000 in back taxes for tax year 2015.

The client later discovered five unauthorized cash withdrawals ranging in the thousands of dollars, adding up to a total of more than $35,000. When confronted, Esquivel allegedly wrote him a check that bounced, authorities said.

In the other case, prosecutors said Esquivel stole nearly $300,000 from a client after withdrawing cash without authorization, writing checks to himself or his company and, in some instances, wiring money to an account he holds in Colombia.

Esquivel is due back in court Oct. 14.

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