Oct, 21, 2021 By Christian Murray
Two Queens residents who worked at a Forest Hills community center face up to seven years in prison for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars intended for a summer youth employment program.
Rahmello Poole, of South Jamaica, and Mariah Moore, of Far Rockaway, used their positions working at the Central Queens Y in Forest Hills to bilk a New York City summer youth program out of nearly $20,000, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
The pair allegedly filed bogus timesheets for non-active teenage employees—and then used the earnings that had been deposited on debit cards for their own personal gain.
“The funds allocated to the City’s Summer Youth Employment Program are intended to provide job opportunities to Queens teenagers as well as funding for literacy services, after school programs and more,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. “As alleged, these defendants found a way to manipulate the system to enrich themselves.”
According to the charges, in the summer of 2018, Poole worked as a worksite coordinator and Moore was a clerk.
Poole’s duties included providing oversight for the teenagers’ work areas and processing their timesheets. In this role, Poole had access to the debit cards that were used to pay the workers and the PIN numbers.
Meanwhile, Moore, in her role as an administrative clerk, was responsible for organizing and entering the timesheets into the system’s payroll database. Debit cards were used to pay some workers in lieu of direct deposit into bank accounts.
The pair submitted timesheets for real but inactive program participants and then cashed the debit cards. Poole allegedly loaded debit cards with $10,144, while Moore is accused of fraudulently uploading $8,043.
When the parents of the teenage participants received paperwork showing wages their children never received, they alerted the Central Queens Y.
The Central Queens Y double-checked and then notified the City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). A criminal investigation was then launched.
The pair were arraigned late Tuesday before Queens Criminal Court Judge Edwin Novillo on a 34-count complaint. The two are charged with grand larceny in the third and fourth degree, falsifying business records in the first degree, offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, defrauding the government and tampering with public records in the second degree.
Judge Novillo ordered the duo to return to Court on Dec. 16. If convicted Poole and Moore face up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison.