Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., today announced the guilty plea and sentencing of ROSITA JOSEPH, 51, for stealing more than $900,000 from NFCGC Investments, Inc., (“NFCGC”) a subsidiary that operates Juan Valdez coffee in North America. JOSEPH pled guilty in New York State Supreme Court to one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and was sentenced to 3-6 years in state prison.
NFCGC is the North American subsidiary of the Colombian company Procafecol S.A., which was founded by the non-profit Colombian Coffee Growers Federation. Procafecol represents the business interests of Colombian coffee farmers and operates the multinational brand Juan Valdez Café.
“Rosita Joseph brazenly fleeced her employer so she could inflate her salary and make extravagant purchases, including luxury vacations. The more than $900,000 money should have gone to growing the company or directly into the pockets of workers, instead of Ms. Joseph’s own bank account,” said District Attorney Bragg.
As admitted in her guilty plea, JOSEPH used the stolen money to pay for luxury vacations, including to the Bahamas and Barbados; make purchases at Amazon.com; and inflate her own paychecks.
JOSEPH had access to the company’s payroll and operating accounts at Citibank, along with a corporate American Express card. In September 2016, Procafecol performed a routine financial audit and asked JOSEPH for all financial statements associated with company accounts. JOSEPH provided minimal detail and refused to provide bank statements. After she refused numerous requests for account documents, NFCGC fired JOSEPH and conducted a full review.
A review of American Express statements revealed that JOSEPH used the card for various personal purchases, including airline travel for herself, family members, and friends, to Orlando, Florida; the Cayman Islands; the Bahamas, and more. JOSEPH also paid for stays at the Four Seasons Hotel and a luxury beach resort in Barbados. In total, JOSEPH charged more than $116,000 worth of travel expenses to the American Express card from January 2014 to August 2017.
According to court documents, JOSEPH also made more than $86,000 in purchases on Amazon.com, including Gucci accessories and 14-carat gold and diamond jewelry.
JOSEPH also stole more than $118,000 from the company’s operating account in unauthorized wire transfers. JOSEPH also paid herself a higher salary than she was authorized to receive and took home thousands of dollars in unauthorized pre-tax expense reimbursements per month. JOSEPH also overpaid herself in earnings and reimbursements during off-cycle pay dates when she did not receive a paycheck. From January 2013 to May 2018, JOSEPH made over $580,000 in unauthorized payroll deposits.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant D.A. Nina Vershuta, under the supervision of Hope Korenstein, Kelly Thomas and Ryan Gee Deputy Bureau Chiefs of the Financial Frauds Bureau, Bureau Chief Kofi Sansculotte, Christopher Conroy (Senior Advisor to the Investigation Division) and Executive Assistant D.A. Susan Hoffinger (Chief of the Investigation Division).
Assistant D.A. Jana Loeb, Paralegals Kristen Grimes and Brandon Martinez, DANY Investigator Maria Coyt-Freda and FAFI Analyst Eric Rothmann also assisted with the case.
- Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
- 3-6 years in state prison