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Florida resident allegedly looted Forest Hills bank account

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Retired Police Officer Marvin Vasquez, 46, of Florida, was given power of attorney by a fellow retired officer, Carlos Lajera, 37, after Lajera was involved in a near-fatal car accident in 2004, DA Richard Brown said. Vasquez maintained power of attorney over Lajera's affairs, including his finances, between October 2004 and February 2006, the DA said. In that period, Vasquez allegedly made several withdrawals and wire transfers from accounts Lajera had at a Commerce Bank branch in Forest Hills, including $3,000 to pay for a Disney cruise for his family, the DA said.Brown said that among the other alleged withdrawals are $119.20 for the Woodhaven Rifle and Pistol range on July 19, 2005; $215 on Sept. 30, 2005 for the Catholic Learning Center; $747.72 on Dec. 1, 2005; two charges of more than $100 each for gift baskets on Dec. 13, 2005; $167.90 for Don's Muffler Shop on Feb. 24, 2006; and various other purchases, plus a withdrawal of $8,280 Jan. 11, 2006 and a wire transfer of $4,000 to Vasquez's Bank of America account Feb. 7, 2006."According to the charges, the defendant took advantage of his friend's poor health to steal almost $20,000 from him. The charges are serious and if true represent a betrayal of his friend's trust," Brown said.Vasquez was arraigned Friday on charges of grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property before Queens Criminal Court Judge Alex Zigman, the DA said. Vasquez was released on $10,000 bail and ordered to return to court Jan. 28, the DA said.Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at achristodoulides@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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