2011-01-26 / Front Page

Whitestone Sex Offender Bilked Church For $7G

A convicted child sex offender banned from an afterschool program at St. Mel’s Catholic School in Whitestone is facing new charges that he swiped a church checkbook and cashed checks totaling more than $7,000, authorities said.

Joseph Denice, 24, a registered N.Y. State Sex Offender, was removed from St. Mel’s after parents and lawmakers in Eastern Queens discovered he was working with young children at an afterschool program at the school.

Shortly after his dismissal, church officials received a phone call from a CapitalOne Bank branch advising them that a checking account was overdrawn.

According to a criminal complaint filed by the Queens District Attorney’s office, Denice admitted to investigators that he found checks on a desk in the church Religious Education Office in December and signed several over to an account held by his parents.

Bank officials said Denice wrote checks through the month of December totaling $7,707, the complaint states. Following his arrest last week, Denice said his mother had no knowledge of the scam and she believed she was depositing Denice’s paychecks, the complaint states.

Denice, a Level 1 N.Y. State Sex Offender, is facing grand larceny and related charges for the theft of church funds.

At a hearing last week in Queens Supreme Court on parole violation charges, Denice was ordered to undergo psychiatric testing to determine if he is competent to stand trial. He was ordered held without bail and remains behind bars at Rikers Island, authorities said.  

–Liz Goff

 

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