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DOI claims former city worker stole checks

HOLLIS — A former city Health Department official was arrested for allegedly stealing checks from a Queens public school nurse, the city Department of Investigation said.

Maria Espina, a former public health assistant, was charged with two counts of forgery and two counts of possession of a forged instrument after allegedly stealing blanks checks from a nurse at PS 118 and depositing them for $1,675, according to DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn.

“City employees who turn their jobs into opportunities to steal money will face arrest and prosecution,” Hearn said. “There is no tolerance for that kind of illegal conduct.”

Hearn said DOI investigators found that Espina was at PS 118 to review the school nurses’ performance on Dec. 18. When the nurse left the office, Espina allegedly took two checks, Hearn said. According to the charges, Espina allegedly later wrote herself a check for $875 to pay her rent and another for $800 written out to “cash.”

Hearn said if convicted, Espina faces up to seven years in prison for the forgery charges and another four years in prison for the charges of possession of a forged instrument.

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