Margaret Garnett, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”), announced today the arrest of a Supervisor of Housing Caretakers at the New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”), on charges of stealing kitchen cabinets, a refrigerator, and a sink from NYCHA’s Wagner Houses in East Harlem where the supervisor worked. DOI worked in partnership with the office of Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, which is prosecuting the case.
DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett said, “This NYCHA supervisor misused her position to give her personal kitchen a makeover, realizing the renovation with stolen equipment and an appliance from NYCHA and denying residents what was rightfully theirs, according to the charges. Employees who abuse their authority and steal from the City to enrich themselves will be investigated and arrested. DOI thanks the Queens District Attorney’s Office for their partnership in the prosecution of this case.”
Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, “The defendant is accused of taking advantage of her trusted position to steal from her employer. Torres’ alleged scheme didn’t just rip off NYCHA, but also the thousands of residents who rely on the agency for housing. While greed may not be a crime, funneling goods and products meant for the truly needy is. This case should serve as a warning to others that my office will work diligently with our law enforcement partners to apprehend and prosecute those who attempt to cheat the system for their own personal gain.”
DOI arrested EVA TORRES, 42, of Queens, N.Y., today on charges of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, and Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor. Upon conviction, a class E felony is punishable by up to four years in prison and a class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year’s incarceration.
According to the criminal complaint and DOI’s investigation, in September 2018, DOI began investigating a tip that TORRES had renovated the kitchen of her Queens residence with cabinets and an appliance from NYCHA. DOI investigators observed a post from TORRES’ Facebook account that showed TORRES in her kitchen standing in front of kitchen cabinets and a refrigerator that appeared to be similar to items used by NYCHA to furnish apartments. The specific model cabinets are procured by NYCHA from Crotone Kitchens Inc. in Canada and the exact model has never been sold privately to anybody including TORRES
As a result of DOI’s observations, a search warrant was executed today, January 24, 2019, to search TORRES’ kitchen in Queens, at which time eight cabinets, a white refrigerator, and a sink -- all with matching serial numbers to items purchased by NYCHA for the Wagner Houses -- were found. The total value of the NYCHA property found in TORRES’ kitchen was $1,355, and TORRES did not have the permission or authority to take that property.
The investigation was conducted by DOI’s Inspector General for NYCHA Ralph Iannuzzi and members of his staff, including Deputy Inspector General Gregory DeBoer, Assistant Inspector General Robin Jacknow, and Confidential Investigator Shateeka Washington.
A criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty