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A Howard Beach woman has been accused of manipulating her 401K retirement savings plan to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the electrical firm where she worked, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Carol Harte, 49, of 156-17 75th St. was arraigned Friday on grand larceny and falsifying business records charges for allegedly stealing more than $200,000 from her longtime employer, Primary Electrical Equipment in Richmond Hill, Brown said.
Harte worked as a bookkeeper at the firm at 129-10 Hillside Ave. and allegedly inflated the contributions to her retirement plan for years, according to the DA.
"Her alleged conduct represents a betrayal of the confidence that her employer had in her," he said in a statement.
A representative from Primary declined to comment about the arrest.
Harte was ordered held on $25,000 bail and asked to return to court Sept. 23.
She was employed at the firm for 16 years until she was fired by her administrators earlier this year and was responsible for preparing the company's payroll worksheets, Brown said.
Between January 2005 and November 2007, Harte allegedly stole $204,351 on 100 occasions by overstating the company's contributions to her 401K, Brown said.
Brown said she inflated weekly contributions to show amounts ranging from $500 to $3,000 instead of the $6 and $12 amounts that should have been remitted.
An audit by the DA's Economic Crime Bureau showed that on June 21, 2007, and Nov. 1, 2007, Harte issued five company checks totaling $5,863 to the state Higher Education Services Corp. to pay for her son's student loans.
Harte, who was also investigated by another audit initiated by her employer, allegedly confessed to the 401K overpayments and admitted that she stole nearly half a million dollars from Primary when she was arrested last Thursday, according to the DA.
If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison, Brown said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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