South Salem resident Frank DeGrasse faces jail time after being handed a 31-count indictment for fraud — charges for which he claims he was wrongfully accused.
A Lewisboro resident since 1992, Mr. DeGrasse was arraigned Monday in Westchester County Court in White Plains after allegedly defrauding 10 people between Nov. 4, 2008 and Jan. 7, 2009, according to a press release from the Westchester County district attorney.
He is accused of depositing more than $250,000 in counterfeit checks into five different bank accounts he opened, three of which were opened in his name or his corporation’s name and the stolen identity of another person, according to the release.
Mr. DeGrasse, 50, also allegedly transferred approximately $75,000 from the equity credit line of one of the victims, without their knowledge and permission, into one of the joint bank accounts.
A disbarred attorney and a former New York City Police Detective, Mr. DeGrasse is charged with second-degree grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, first-degree identity theft, third-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, first-degree falsifying business records and first-degree scheme to defraud.
Mr. DeGrasse was indicted five years ago in Suffolk County, along with five other suspects, for allegedly stealing from illegitimate mortgages, devising phony real estate deals and conning lender banks into issuing loans.
In March 2007, he pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny but served no jail time, and was disbarred four months later, according to The Journal News.
In a letter to The Ledger this week, Mr. DeGrasse said the $250,000 incident “involved the sale of established (aged) corporations to a third party. The buyer was added to the corporation and its banking accounts pending payment. Several checks were deposited (not by me) for payment and funds were wired INTO the account. Weeks later it became apparent these checks were not authentic. It also turned out that the driver’s license and other ID given to me by the buyer was counterfeit.”
“I have cooperated fully with the DA’s office and have steadfastly refused to enter into plea negotiations,” he said. “I was a victim in this incident and did not have any idea where the buyers [sic] funds were originating.”
Mr. DeGrasse faces a maximum of 15 years in state prison. He was released on $10,000 bail and is due back in court on May 10.