Saturday, April 07, 2007

New Yorker bought jewelry using city bank account

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York social worker charged more than $3.5 million in jewelry using a city government account and then had some of the swag mailed to the homeless shelter for mentally-ill men where he worked, prosecutors said on Thursday.

In March, Tracy Ball made 604 electronic payments to Jewelry Television, a Tennessee-based retailer which sells jewelry over the Internet and in infomercials, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau told reporters.

The bank account Ball, 49, used was one maintained by the New York Comptroller's office to cover workers' compensation claims, Morgenthau said.

Ball has never worked for city government, and it is unclear how he came upon the account information.

Ball had the jewelry mailed to four separate addresses, including the Manhattan shelter where he had been employed as a social worker, the DA's office said.

Ball has been arrested and is awaiting arraignment. If charged and convicted, he could face 25 years in prison.


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