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Astoria man linked to theft of $30K from the Whitney

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Rowan Foley, 24, of 31-80 43rd St., is charged with grand larceny, said Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison.He and his boss, Naseem Wahlah, 30, of Manhattan, are charged with stealing a total of $880,000 from the Upper East Side museum where they each worked for 2 1/2 years, said Barbara Thompson, spokeswoman for the DA's office.Working separately, they allegedly voided hundreds of ticket sales and pocketed the cash over a two-year period from January 2002 to July 2004, police said.The Manhattan museum has up to 1,000 visitors a day, generating as much as $20,000 in ticket sales daily, the DA said. Earlier this year Foley reported that he suspected Wahlah, the museum's manager of visitor services, of skimming cash from the ticket sales."He blew the whistle on her," Thompson said.The museum hired a private investigator and conducted an audit, which uncovered a large number of voided ticket sales. The investigator, Safir Rosetti, placed hidden cameras behind the ticket counter and in the room where visitor service workers tallied sales and stored the cash, the DA said.From June to July, the defendants were repeatedly filmed voiding ticket sales, the DA said. Wahlah was caught stuffing cash into her purse and Foley was recorded putting money into his pocket, the DA said.While the DA said Foley spent the money he allegedly stole, law enforcement recovered $800,000 in cash from a safe in Wahlah's home.She has been indicted on charges of grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. If convicted, she could face a maximum 15 years in prison.Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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