Crime and Punishment

Parole Denied for Former Assistant at GVA Williams

An administrative assistant at GVA Williams who was convicted of swindling $3 million from former company executive Andrew Roos over the course of nine years was denied parole earlier this month, The Commercial Observer has learned.

Agnes Dickinson, 59, was ordered to continue her up-to-13-year prison sentence at a Jan. 12 parole board hearing, according to the New York State Department of Corrections. She has been incarcerated at the Bayview Correctional Facility in Manhattan since 2008, shortly after being convicted of grand larceny, forgery and money laundering.

“After a review of the record and interview, the panel has determined that, if released at this time, there is a reasonable probability that you would not live and remain at liberty without again violating the law, and your release would be incompatible with the welfare of society,” the parole ruling reads. Andrew Roos 6 KK 400x277 Parole Denied for Former Assistant at GVA Williams

The ruling concludes: “Your repeated actions over many years clearly indicate the danger you pose. Parole is denied.”

Ms. Dickinson’s next parole board hearing is scheduled for January 2014. Ms. Dickinson worked as a personal secretary for Mr. Roos at GVA Williams, where her job requirements included preparing checks to pay Mr. Roos¹s personal bills, according to the court records.

Now a vice chairman at Colliers International, Mr. Roos, 58, has completed over 30 million square feet of deals throughout a storied real estate career. Born into a prominent real estate family, the former professional photographer’s clients include United Nations, the Xerox Corporation and the law firm Holland + Knight.

In 2006, however, Mr. Roos, while still with GVA Williams, received a call from his bank questioning him about a $16,000 check that had been passed in his name for car payments on a BMW that Mr. Roos did not own, prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney¹s office said at the time.

Mr. Roos filed a complaint with the Manhattan district attorney¹s office, leading to an investigation that showed Ms. Dickinson had embezzled more than $2.7 million from the well-known broker through hundreds of transactions between 1997 and 2006, according to court records.

Ms. Dickinson committed these crimes by forging Mr. Roos’s name on his personal checks. She used most of the money to pay off credit card accounts belonging to her husband, her daughter and a friend, prosecutors said at the time.  She fabricated Mr. Roos’s signature on personal checks from a Citigroup account in his name to pay off a debt worth $84,974.34 on her own American Express account, according to prosecutors.

In addition to the BMW payment, Ms. Dickinson also used the swindled cash to purchase designer clothes, plane tickets and, perhaps most egregiously, a house in West Palm Beach, Fla. The investigation also revealed that Ms. Dickinson had siphoned money from an estate belonging to Mr. Roos’s deceased sister originally set aside for her nieces and nephews by transferring the cash from the estate into Mr.Roos’s account and then using that stolen money for her own purposes.

She eventually pleaded guilty to multiple counts of grand larceny, forgery, money laundering and filing a false tax return in 2008. She was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay full restitution for her crimes.

“She was a trusted employee who violated our openness and kindness, and sadly had to suffer the consequences of her misdeeds,” said Mr. Roos in a prepared statement issued to The Commercial Observer last week. “Her continued incarceration brings me no pleasure, but I have moved on.”

Tanya Apparicio, formerly of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Frauds Bureau who also prosecuted Ms. Dickinson’s case, deferred comment to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Press Office, which declined comment.

Staff writer Daniel Edward Rosen can be reached at drosen@observer.com