2016-06-08 / Front Page

Queens Billing Clerk Charged In $2M Check Scam

By Liz Goff
A former billing clerk at a western Queens medical clinic has been charged with stealing approximately $2 million worth of checks from her employer over a seven-year-period, and depositing the checks in a bank account she opened in New Jersey, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Brown said Jamie Cha, 46, of Palisades Park, New Jersey, worked as an in-house medical biller for Liberty Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at 40-37 81st Street in Elmhurst and 37-55 77th Street in Jackson Heights.

Cha was charged with multiple counts of first-degree grand larceny and first-degree identity theft at her arraignment at Queens Criminal Court, where she was held on $500,000 bond/$250,000 cash bail. The judge ordered a bail sufficiency hearing, ordered Cha to surrender all of her passports, and to refrain from applying for any passports while the case is pending, Brown said.

Court papers allege that Cha opened a business checking account at a TD Bank branch in Fort Lee, New Jersey in 2009, under the name Liberty Physical Med and Rehab. Cha was allegedly listed on the account as president of the facility, and was the only person authorized to make withdrawals.

According to the court papers, Cha was actually an employee of the facility at that time, and in her capacity as medical biller she had access to checks issued to her employer - but she was not authorized to deposit the checks.

Brown said the clinic owner discovered the scam in October 2015, when his bank returned a check he had deposited from an insurance company. The owner contacted the insurance company and received a copy of a cancelled check that allegedly had been deposited one month earlier in Cha’s TD Bank account in New Jersey, Brown said.

A review of the TD Bank’s business records showed that the business address listed on the New Jersey account was actually Cha’s home address, and that between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2015, Cha had deposited more than 500 checks intended for the clinic, Brown said.

“The defendant, who was a longtime and trusted employee, is alleged to have taken advantage of that trust by stealing millions of dollars worth of checks and then depositing them into an account for which only she had access to make withdrawals. For years, she allegedly used the medical office’s money as if it were her own,” Brown said.  “The defendant must be held accountable for her actions, if proven true.”

Cha is facing 25-years in prison, if convicted.

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