The union boss representing a group of Port Washington, NY, teachers’ aides stole more than $45,000 from the organization’s bank accounts, Nassau County authorities said on Jan. 5. Angela Prudente, 51, co-president of the Port Washington Paraprofessional Association, was charged with grand larceny for allegedly using her union’s ATM card as her personal charge card.
From April 2001 to June 2004, Prudente made unauthorized cash withdrawals and debit card purchases with her union banking card totaling $45,163.70, prosecutors said. Prudente, a teacher’s assistant for the Port Washington School District, served as her union’s co-president for eight years and oversaw its financial records for the last three years.
Asst. Nassau Dist. Attny. Peter Mancuso said the Port Washington woman used her union debit card to go on shopping sprees at Wal-Mart, The Wiz, and TJ Maxx, where she bought clothes and other goods. She also made cash withdrawals at ATMs and supermarkets, such as King Kullen, and ran up restaurant tabs as high as $492, the prosecutor said.
Prudente also appears to have used the union’s funds to pay for expenses while visiting her daughter, who attended college in Boston. Mancuso said she ran up thousands of dollars in charges on hotel rooms at a Best Western and other Boston-area lodges, as well as meals at Beantown restaurants during several visits from August 2001 to January 2004. “She had no consent or authorization from her organization” to charge any personal or travel expenses, Mancuso said.
The bogus charges were first discovered last summer during an audit, sparking probes by the statewide teacher’s union and later by Nassau District Attorney Denis Dillon. Mancuso said he does not suspect that anyone in the union helped Prudente cover up the scheme. [NY Daily News, 1/6/05]