Long Island bookkeeper charged with theft of $200K from Autism group

A personal assistant and bookkeeper in the Long Island town of New Hyde Park is accused by the district attorney of stealing more than $200,000 from her employer and an autism awareness foundation run by her boss' wife, Nassau County (New York) prosecutors said Tuesday.

Pamela Efraimov, 39, was arrested Tuesday on charges of second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first-degree falsifying business records, the office of Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a news release.

She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday at First District Court in Hempstead.

Investigators from Rice's office said in the release that from 2005 to 2012, Efraimov was employed as the personal assistant and bookkeeper to the president-owner of Katherine Bishop Ltd., a women's apparel wholesaler.

After her boss' death in June 2010, the man's widow kept Efraimov on so she could close the books on the business, the release said. Efraimov also assisted the widow with the bookkeeping for The Nicholas Center for Autism and Spectrum Designs Foundation, a nonprofit the widow had founded.

After noticing some irregularities with cash deposits for the foundation and bouncing checks for the Katherine Bishop account, the widow confronted Efraimov in September 2012, prosecutors said.

Efraimov was fired the next month, and an audit revealed that she had instructed the bank to stop sending paper statements, Rice's office said.

The audit also discovered "she had altered 64 checks between January 2011 to September 2012 to hide that she had written the checks to herself, totaling more than $150,000," according to Rice.

The audit also found "Efraimov had made unauthorized transfers from the Katherine Bishop account to her personal bank accounts totaling more than $10,000, forged the widow's signature on 73 checks made out to Efraimov totaling more than $45,000, and used the Katherine Bishop account to make online payments to her personal credit cards. Efraimov also used the cash to purchase luxury goods like Prada boots, Louis Vuitton handbags and King Baby jewelry," according to the release.

Rice said in a statement that the actions by Efraimov were "appalling," especially because the victims were a grieving widow and a nonprofit dedicated to helping children with special needs.

Efraimov's lawyer, Robert Gallo of Sayville, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.


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