A Bronx man was indicted Monday after allegedly stealing nearly $5 million from the University over the last two months.
Defendant George Castro appeared in court today and has been charged with a felony count of grand larceny following an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s Cybercrime and Identity Theft Bureau.
Columbia realized that nearly $5 million had been sent between Oct. 4 and Nov. 24 to an unauthorized account that had been added to the University’s electronic payment system, according to the criminal complaint.
Last Wednesday, investigators apprehended Castro—the signator on the unauthorized account— at his home with $200,000 cash in a bag. A car purchased with the stolen money, an $80,000 Audi, was parked outside, according to the DA’s office.
The complaint states that Castro told investigators the money had just appeared in his account, and he “got greedy” and spent it.
David Fisher, Castro’s lawyer, said Monday that the defendant has no relationship to Columbia, and that the indictment was expected given the amount of the alleged theft.
“If there’s a trial, we expect him to be vindicated, or perhaps it won’t need to come to that,” Fisher said, declining to comment further.
University spokesperson Douglas Levy said that since identifying the theft, Columbia has been working with authorities and can’t comment further on the ongoing investigation or Castro’s relationship to the University.
Castro’s next court date has been set for Dec. 15. He is being held on $2 million bail.