A Manhattan Criminal Court employee has been accused of pocketing more than $163,000 in money orders and cashier’s checks over a two-year period that were intended to pay Summons Court fines, according to a statement from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Carlos Sanchez, 36, who worked as a senior court office assistant, has been charged with second-degree grand larceny, 35 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and 10 counts of first-degree falsifying business records.
Sanchez was tasked with opening and sorting payments for summons fines for low-level offenses like public urination and for corporate fines such as building code violations.
But Sanchez allegedly took more than 570 of the payments and either deposited them into his personal bank account or used them to pay down his credit card balance.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a news release that Sanchez’s alleged theft resulted in hundreds of cases erroneously showing that individuals and corporations didn’t pay fines.
At least 15 bench warrants were issued because of the alleged theft, the release states, which resulted in the arrests of at least five people for fines they already paid.
Vance said that his office will work with the court system in coming weeks to determine if other cases were affected by Sanchez’s alleged misconduct.
Assistant district attorney Robert Cannata is prosecuting the case.