Schenectady County District Attorney Robert M. Carney announced that on December 10, 2021, a Schenectady County jury convicted William Kent, a 62 year old resident of Niskayuna, NY, on two counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and seven counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, Class D felonies, following a jury trial. The Honorable Matthew Sypniewski, Schenectady County Court Judge, presided over the trial. The defendant was indicted for using seven fraudulent cashier’s checks purportedly drawn on a Navy Federal Credit Union account to steal thousands of dollars from CapCom Federal Credit Union and NBT Bank. The defendant deposited these checks at different times on different days at two different bank branches over the course of four days in June 2019. Each of the checks purported to be payable to the defendant’s company, K3 Works, Inc., and were purportedly remitted by that same company from its Navy Federal account. However, the defendant knew that he and his company never held accounts at Navy Federal. As such, all of the checks were forgeries. Because the checks appeared on their face to be cashier’s checks, CapCom and NBT made funds immediately available to the defendant even though the checks were fake. Following each deposit, the defendant immediately withdrew large sums of cash and otherwise used the funds in his accounts. Once the fraudulent checks began bouncing, the defendant’s bank accounts went negative, leaving CapCom and NBT with thousands of dollars of losses (the combined total of the defendant’s theft was in excess of $60,000).
During the trial, a New York State Police forensic auditor explained that check frauds typically take place in newly opened accounts with relatively low balances, and that fraudulent deposits are followed by immediate withdrawals in order to maximize the theft before the fraud is discovered. The audit of certain of the defendant’s financial records found exactly that— fraudulent deposits followed by immediate cash withdrawals consistent with check fraud schemes. The defendant’s account was opened in May 2019, a month before the fraud started. When the fraud began, approximately $280 was in the defendant’s account. The defendant testified on his own behalf. He explained to the jury that he believed the checks were the proceeds of an unconventional loan and that he never looked at the checks and did not realize that the checks were written from his company to his company. However, the defendant admitted that he told his supposed loan broker that he was “being careful” with the checks in the midst of his multiple deposits. He also admitted to withdrawing more money from an account even after learning the checks were fraudulent. In rendering its guilty verdict, the jury rejected the defense’s claim of lack of knowledge and intent.
District Attorney Carney stated “Mr. Kent portrayed himself as a naïve and trusting businessman when in reality he was a scheming fraudster hoping the banks would absorb the losses he cost them, and that all would be forgiven once he paid them back. Thanks to the hard work of Assistant District Attorneys Lemon and Gray as well as DA Investigator James McCrum, he didn’t get away with these crimes.” The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced on January 18, 2022. The Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office thanks the financial institutions for reporting these crimes, the Niskayuna and Schenectady Police Departments for their investigative efforts, as well as the New York State Police Financial Crimes Unit for their assistance in conducting a forensic audit of the defendant’s financial records. This case was prosecuted by ADA William Lemon with trial assistance from ADA Brian Gray. The defendant is represented by Mark Juda.