By Christina Carrega
A Far Rockaway bank employee admitted in court that he abused his position to take advantage of two elderly women in order to steal $650,000 from their accounts after they died.
Joshua Stephens-Anselm was sentenced to six months on Rikers Island on Monday by Justice Bruna L. DiBiase for swindling funds from the accounts of Edith and Marjorie Thompson.
Before the sisters died in December 2013 and November 2014, respectively, they opened bank accounts at a J.P. Morgan Chase branch located on Beach 24th Street where Stephens-Anselm worked as a private client banker.
Between 2016 and 2017, Stephens-Anselm “heartlessly stole money from the personal bank accounts of two deceased elderly women and used the funds to pay personal expenses such as rent, credit card bills for friends and outings at restaurants and bars,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
The investigation launched after an appointed estate administrator contacted the bank to determine why large sums of money were transferred from the Thompsons’ accounts.
Upon further investigation, it was determined that Stephens-Anselm issued checks to his personal account totaling $590,000 from 85-year-old Marjorie Thompson’s estate and an additional $70,000 from 89-year-old Edith Thompson’s estate, prosecutors said. To readily access the money, Stephens-Anselm set up a mobile pay app on his phone to make electronic payments.
Justice DiBiase ordered Stephens-Anselm to repay $662,465 in stolen funds to the sisters’ accounts.