A 27-year-old bank employee from Far Rockaway, was accused last week of grand larceny for allegedly siphoning more than $650,000 of estate funds from two deceased sisters’ who were his private clients at the JP Morgan Chase bank in Hollis where he was employed, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
The DA’s office issued a criminal complaint April 11 that said after the sisters, Edith Thompson and Marjorie Thompson, died, Joshua Stephens-Anselm allegedly used checks and then set up a mobile Chase account on his cell phone using the bank’s app to pay his bills with their money at first. But as time went on, he started to live a life of luxury, according to Brown.
“This trusted bank employee took advantage of his access to enrich himself,” Brown said. He used “the accounts as if they were his own personal piggy banks.”
Stephens-Anselm was the Thompson’s private client banker at the bank — located at 205-19 Hillside Ave. — and in December 2013 Edith died. Marjorie died a year later. From 2016 to 2017, the defendant allegedly funneled the money from sisters as checks then electronic payments.
He allegedly began to steal money by issuing checks to himself from the sisters’ accounts to his living expenses for rent, cable bill and utilities.
Once Stephens-Anselm got the mobile account, he stepped up his lifestyle by allegedly using the funds to purchase alcohol, clothes, trips and hotel stays, Brown said. He paid off his friend’s Victoria’s Secret credit card and used the money to frequent hookah lounges, according to the DA.
“The defendant was alleged to have not only paid his living expenses, but also spent the money on luxuries like hotels and vacations and partying at hookah bars. If the allegations are proven true, the defendant will face a long term of incarceration as a result of his greed,” Brown said.
A forensic examination of the two estates showed that $590,000 was stolen from Marjorie and $70,000 was taken from Edith.
Both accounts have been reimbursed in full by JP Morgan Chase.
The defendant is awaiting an arraignment and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose