Two former mortuary technicians for the city’s Chief Medical Examiner were busted by the feds Tuesday for allegedly stealing dead people’s credit and debit cards — and using them to take trips to Florida and indulge in McDonald’s.
Willie Garcon, 50, of Brooklyn, and Charles McFadgen, 66, of the Bronx, are charged with access device fraud, for which they face up to 10 years in prison.
“The defendants brazenly pilfered the belongings of the deceased, stole their property and enriched themselves by making unauthorized purchases worth several thousand dollars,” said Mark Lesko, acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Garcon worked at the ME’s office from 2018 to 2020 as a forensic technician. Depending on his assignment, he sometimes transported bodies to the city morgue and at other times processed the dead once they arrived, prosecutors said.
The morbid alleged crime was uncovered in May 2020, when he was busted in New Jersey for theft in an unrelated case. Cops allegedly found property on him that belonged to four dead people who he had either transported to the city morgue or processed upon their arrival, according to a criminal complaint.
A subsequent investigation then allegedly revealed that Garcon used the decedents’ stolen credit and debit cards to blow $6,500 — including on flights from Newark to Fort Lauderdale, a new HVAC system at his Boca Raton vacation home and a parking fine.
McFadgen worked at the ME’s office from 2003 to 2016, when he retired. He allegedly admitted to investigators that he had used plastic swiped from at least five corpses to rack up more than $13,500 in charges.
During a four-year period, McFadgen linked three of his victims’ credit and debit cards to his CVS ExtraCare account to make hundreds of purchases in the Bronx, according to the complaint.
In one instance, he allegedly used the credit card of a dead woman that was linked to her mother’s account. The mom spotted 16 charges after her daughter’s death and reported the fraud in 2016, but McFadgen continued to throw down stolen plastic for a spree of purchases as late as October of 2019, court records show.
It wasn’t only the dead — McFadgen also allegedly racked up hundreds of dollars in charges on three credit cards that belonged to people who were alive.
On March 22, McFadgen allegedly admitted the theft to investigators, saying that his co-workers had given him a total of more than 10 cards over the years.
“He said that he used the cards to make small purchases, such as purchasing stamps from the post office and buying food from McDonald’s,” the criminal complaint charges.
The arrests were the result of a joint investigation between the FBI, the NYPD and the city’s Department of Investigation.
McFadgen and Garcon are set to appear before a Brooklyn federal court judge later Tuesday.