Southampton Woman Admits Stealing $1.5M from Seniors

stack of one hundred dollars notes
Getty Images

A Southampton woman has admitted conning unsuspecting elderly victims out of a combined $1.5 million by promising to publish their biographies in her publications over a six-year span, federal authorities said.

Mara Ficarra pleaded guilty Monday at Central Islip federal court to charges of conspiracy to commit mail, wire and bank fraud. 

“Mara Ficarra took advantage of the elderly, leading them to believe their legacies would be preserved in The Remington Registry of Outstanding Professionals,” said Daniel B. Brubaker, Inspector-in-Charge, of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s New York division. “What she did instead was prey on innocent victims and continue to drain their bank accounts of over $1.5 million.”

Prosecutors said the 57-year-old woman and a co-conspirator mailed elderly victims pamphlets that purported to publish the victims’ bios in reference publications containing information of individuals across the country from 2013 to December 2018.

The letters, addressed “Dear Nominee,” stated “Your 2 books and your plaque are paid for in full and ready for delivery. Please send a check for $14 for shipping and handling.” 

The Remington Registry of Outstanding Professionals is more than a who’s who,” the letters stated. “It is the ultimate expression of achievements, hardships, and dedication that professionals have made in their lives and careers…. Sit back and be read for a wonderful experience.” 

Hundreds of victims submitted checks. Ficarra then used the routing and bank account information on those checks to produce fraudulent checks for larger dollar amounts, which she then deposited into bank accounts she and a co-conspirator controlled at Citibank, Everbank, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, among other financial institutions, according to investigators. Ficarra then withdrew cash from the accounts.

Southampton Town Police Department assisted with the investigation. An attorney for Ficarra could not be reached. She faces up to five years in prison and $1.5 million in restitution when sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert.

More from Our Sister Sites