According to New York City’s top prosecutor, a Manhattan Chase Bank teller’s passion for the Benjamins may have cost him much more than the $240,000 he is alleged to have swindled from his employer. Unfortunately for Sephoen Tsang, a Chinatown branch worker, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. has escalated the “war” on white collar crimes in recent months with equal passion to Tsang’s alleged thieving ways.
It is claimed by prosecutors that Tsang made numerous fake and false entries into the computer system at Chase Bank regarding the movement of $243,000 in funds. Although prosecutors claim that internal computer systems records from November 29, 2011 appear as if Tsang moved $243,000 from his teller drawer to the bank vault and and then again to the ATM machines, these transactions never transpired. Instead, the money was allegedly stolen outright.
Upon learning of the possible theft, the New York City police department, along with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, began their investigation. Not only did a search warrant executed at the Tsang’s home result in the recovery of $26,000 in cash, a flat screen television, and an Apple MacBook Air computer, but Tsang was located miles away in Atlantic City playing baccarat at the Borgata Casino.
According to the indictment charging Tsang with multiple crimes, the defendant faces multiple felonies including Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law 155.40) and Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree (New York Penal Law 175.10). Second Degree Grand Larceny is a “C” felony punishable by up to five to fifteen years in prison while First Degree Falsifying Business Records is an “E” felony punishable by as much as one and one third to four years in prison.
The Grand Larceny charge that Tsang faces simply stems from the alleged theft of property, here it is cash, with a value exceeding $50,000, but not more than $1 million. Falsifying Business Records, on the other hand, could have occurred in many ways. Generally speaking if you make a false entry or cause a false entry to be made in the business records of an enterprise (inputing false transaction records into the Chase computer and banking records) with the intent to defraud and you do so to hide or assist in the carrying out of another crime (Grand Larceny), you have perpetrated this offense. Although it likely is not applicable in Tsang’s case based on my brief reading of the press release, there is an affirmative defense to Falsifying Business Records. New York Penal Law 175.15 states that if you falsify any type of business record at the direction of a supervisor and you did so as an employee without any benefit, then you would have a defense to any degree of Falsifying Business Records.
There may be many factors in determining the strengths and weakness of this case. Is there a means by which the entries made in the Chase system is traceable to Tsang? If there is a login is it shared? Is there an answer as to why a teller, who likely does not make that much money, had in excess of $25,000 in cash in his apartment? Prosecutors likely have determined or are attempting to ascertain how much money Tsang gambled with and how he had access to those funds. Does Tsang have a reasonable answer?
Unfortunately for Tsang, prosecutors throughout New York City have become more strict and aggressive in their prosecution of theft and fraud crimes in New York. Will Tsang beat the case? Will he end up behind bars? One thing is for sure. This coming Christmas Tsang’s stocking will be filled not with gifts and goodies, but anxiety and grief.
To educate yourself on the Grand Larceny and Falsifying Business Records in New York, please follow the highlighted links above. Additionally, Crotty Saland PC’s NewYorkTheftAndLarcenyLawyers.Com website has significant information on Grand Larceny crimes in New York ranging from collateral consequences, potential punishment and analysis of criminal statutes.
Established by two New York criminal lawyers who served together as Assistant District Attorneys in Robert Morgenthau’s Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the criminal attorneys at Crotty Saland PC represent the accused throughout the New York City region.