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Fraud Friday – French Restaurant Owner Faces Numerous Fraud Charges

April 3, 2020

By Caity Witucki
Contributing Editor, Fraud Friday

Fraud Friday – French Restaurant Owner Faces Numerous Fraud Charges

Last month, Barbara Meyzen, the former owner of La Crémaillère, an upscale french restaurant located in Banksville, New York, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of bank fraud.

According to the criminal complaint, from August 2015 to July 2016, Meyzen submitted credit applications to at least nine lenders on behalf of La Crémaillère. In support of those applications, she gave the potential lenders altered bank statements which made it appear as though some of the negative balances were actually positive balances. She also removed references to checks returned for insufficient funds in order to reduce service fees.

When one lender discovered that the bank statements had been altered, Meyzen allegedly created an email account in the name of one of the bank’s officers and sent the lender an email claiming that the statements were genuine. She also falsely represented to the lender that the second mortgage on the restaurant’s property had been discharged. In order to provide proof, she created a false satisfaction of mortgage document and filed it with the Westchester County Clerk. As a result of Meyzen’s fraudulent representations, the lending institution dispursed $350,000 into the restaurant’s account.

The next summer, Meyzen supplemented the restaurant’s income by charging over $80,000 in food and restaurant supplies to one of the restaurant’s customers who had left her credit card number on file at the restaurant. When the customer discovered the charges, Meyzen claimed it was a mistake and promised to resolve the problem. Meyzen gave the customer two checks in a total amount of $32,000, but the checks bounced.

Shortly after  La Crémaillère Restaurant Corp. filed for bankruptcy in April 2019, Meyzen opened a bank account in her name and diverted more than $40,000 of the restaurant’s credit card receipts to that account.

“When Barbara Meyzen’s upscale clientele of bankers, celebrities, and other notable figures frequented her restaurant, they saw a stately French manor in a serene Westchester suburb,” says U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman. “ What they did not see was the alleged rampant financial fraud that was happening.  As a result of her alleged fraud, Barbara Meyzen has potentially earned herself a reservation for one in federal prison.”

Meyzen is now facing over 20 years in prison for aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, mail fraud, credit card fraud, making false statements, and concealing a debtor’s property. She is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Briccetti on June 24, 2020.

Sources:
Department of Justice
Complaint
Patch



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