A rookie cop risked his future in the NYPD and promise of a pension to pocket nearly $7,000 in stolen checks. The 24-year-old has now lost his job and is facing up to seven years in prison, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.
“As a police officer, the defendant was hired to uphold the law. In this case, it is alleged that he threw away a promising career in law enforcement by knowingly cashing two checks that had been stolen and retaining the proceeds,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The defendant will now be held accountable for his alleged actions.”
Gerardo Laera, of Queens, is accused of stealing the money while he was working part time for a Flushing paint store while he was also employed as an NYPD officer.
The business, Clearview Paint Supply, located in the basement of a commercial building on Francis Lewis Boulevard, shared space in the basement and a common hallway with a real estate agency, Douglaston Development Corporation, at the time of the theft, according to the district attorney.
In the fall of this year, on two separate occasions, Laera stole checks from the agency that were made out to “cash,” Brown said. One was in the amount of $2,000 and the second was for $5,000.
He was allegedly caught on video surveillance using an ATM to deposit the first check into his account. He also presented his NYPD shield and New York State driver’s license at a check cashing business before leaving with $4,900 from the second check. The check cashing manager, who made a copy of the documents during the transaction, tried to deposit the check, but it was returned to his bank unpaid.
Laera was arraigned on Friday in Queens Criminal Court on charges of third- and fourth-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, according to the district attorney’s office.
A member of the NYPD since January 2013, Laera was assigned to the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn. He submitted his resignation on Friday.