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New York police officer caught cashing stolen business checks

By Mason White 12:48 PM December 19, 2014
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By: Tanya Malhotra
A police officer was arrested on charges of theft after allegedly stealing checks and cashing them, prosecutors in New York said.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that the 24-year-old New York City police officer, who worked part-time for a Flushing paint store, has been charged with cashing two checks and pocketing nearly $7,000 in cash.

The checks had allegedly been stolen from a business that is sharing building space with the paint store.

“As a police officer, the defendant was hired to uphold the law. In this case, it is alleged that he threw away a promising career in law enforcement by knowingly cashing two checks that had been stolen and retaining the proceeds. The defendant will now be held accountable for his alleged actions,” District Attorney Brown said.

Gerardo Laera was charged with third and fourth-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.

If convicted, the defendant faces up to seven years in prison.

According to the police investigation, Laera worked part-time for Clearview Paint Supply, a paint store located in the basement of a commercial building located on Francis Lewis Boulevard in Flushing, Queens.

Sharing office space in the basement and a common hallway is the real estate agency, Douglaston Development Corporation. The owner of Douglaston Development wrote a check to “cash” for $2,000.

He placed the check inside his desk and later discovered it missing. He reported the unendorsed check as stolen to his bank.

Video surveillance of a JPMorgan Chase Bank branch allegedly showed Laera using an ATM to deposit the $2,000 check into his checking account and making a cash withdrawal of $35.

It is additionally alleged that Laera cashed a check for $5,000 at Prince Check Cashing Corporation on Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing, Queens.

The check was drawn from a closed account of Douglaston Development Corporation and made out to “cash.”

Laera allegedly presented his NYPD shield and New York State driver’s license, which the manager of the check cashing business made a copy of before providing Laera with $4,900 in cash.

When the check cashing manager later attempted to deposit the check, it was returned by his bank unpaid. Laera joined the New York City Police Department in January 2013 and was assigned to the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn.

He submitted his resignation after being charged.