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NEW YORK, NY — A pair of former New York City mortuary technicians disrespected the dead in their care, according to a new federal criminal filing.
Charles McFadgen, 66, and Willie Garcon, 50, face accusations they pilfered belongings from the deceased while they worked in the city’s chief medical examiner’s office.
They used credit and debit cards from the dead to make roughly $20,000 in purchases for, among other things, flights to Fort Lauderdale, authorities said.
“Government employees, regardless of their position, are supposed to serve their fellow citizens, not steal from them,” William F. Sweeney Jr., assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, said in a statement. “The alleged behavior of these two former medical examiner office employees stripped families of the dignity they expected to be afforded to their deceased family members, and it broke federal law.”
The two men’s tenure at the medical examiner’s office didn’t overlap — but the separate criminal complaints against them detail broadly similar accusations.
McFadgen, who worked in the office from 2003 to 2016, had used five credit or debit cards of people who died and wracked up about $13,500 in purchases on them, a complaint states. Many of his purchases were made at CVS stores across the city.
When interviewed, McFadgen told authorities other medical examiner’s office employees gave him the cards, according to the complaint.
“He estimated that he was given about four or five credit cards while he was employed by the OCME and about six credit cards after he retired. 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 complaint states.
Garcon worked in the office from 2018 to 2020 — the last year of which he was also employed in the Burlington County medical examiner’s office, a complaint states.
Burlington Country authorities that year arrested Garcon on unrelated theft accusations and, during a search of his vehicle, found credit and debit cards linked back to people who died and went through the New York City’s medical examiner’s office, according to the complaint.
Garcon used cards to purchase an EZ Pass account, book a flight to Fort Lauderdale and buy a $2,700 air conditioning system for a Boca Raton address, documents state.
The men were scheduled to appear in Brooklyn’s Eastern District of New York federal court on Tuesday to face fraud charges.