Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of WINSTON NGUYEN, 30, for stealing approximately $335,000 from an elderly couple he worked for as a home health aide. NGUYEN is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree, Identity Theft in the First Degree, and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, among other charges. [1]

“This defendant is accused of stealing more than $300,000 from his employers and using the stolen funds to purchase ballet tickets and trips to Florida,” said District Attorney Vance. “A recent study estimated that victims of elder abuse lose more than $36 billion every year, although, sadly, the true cost is likely higher as elder abuse is often unreported. I encourage anyone who believes that an older friend, relative, or loved one may be the victim of this type of fraud to call my Office’s Elder Abuse Hotline at 212-335-9007.”

According to the indictment and statements made on the record in court, beginning in late 2009, NGUYEN worked as a home health aide assisting a 96-year-old blind man and his 92-year old wife at their Upper East Side home. NGUYEN assisted the couple with day-to-day tasks and had access to their bank and credit card information. Between 2015 and 2017, the defendant stole approximately $335,000 from the couple through multiple methods.

NGUYEN used the couple’s bank account and credit cards to make more than $100,000 in purchases and cash withdrawals. Additionally, he opened numerous lines of credit using the couple’s personal information, totaling more than $35,000. Finally, he wrote himself more than $200,000 in checks from the couple’s checking account. NGUYEN used the stolen money to purchase ballet and Broadway tickets and travel for himself and friends – including multiple trips to Florida

To further the fraud, NGUYEN diverted the couple’s bank statements to his home, and created altered statements to show the couple that excluded his purchases. He also placed a bar on the couple’s telephone – preventing calls from creditors – and created a false email account to impersonate their son in communication with their condo board. Finally, in May, the couple’s daughter-in-law discovered fraudulent charges and notified the police.

Assistant District Attorney Michelle Winters is handling the prosecution of the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Catherine Christian, Chief of the Elder Abuse Unit, Charles Whitt, Chief of Trial Bureau 60, and Executive Assistant District Attorney John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Elder Abuse Coordinator Melanie Chan, Senior Rackets Investigator Diana Keam, and Supervising Rackets Investigator Elena Lui provided assistance with the investigation. Additionally, Principal Financial Investigator Elodia Marco of the Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigations (“FAFI”) Bureau provided assistance, under the supervision of Irene Serrapica, Deputy Chief of FAFI, and Robert Demarest, Chief of FAFI.

District Attorney Vance thanked the members of the NYPD’s 19th Precinct, specifically Officer Francis LaVelle.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

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