La Crémaillère Restaurant Owner Gets A Little Too Creative With An X-Acto Knife And Wite-Out
United States Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:
When Barbara Meyzen’s upscale clientele of bankers, celebrities, and other notable figures frequented her restaurant, they saw a stately French manor in a serene Westchester suburb. What they did not see was the alleged rampant financial fraud that was happening. As a result of her alleged fraud, Barbara Meyzen has potentially earned herself a reservation for one in federal prison.
Meyzen has owned and operated the La Crémaillère Restaurant since 1993.
From August 2015 to July 2016, Meyzen submitted applications for credit on behalf of the La Crémaillère restaurant with bogus information to nine lenders.
Meyzen gave the potential lenders modified copies of La Crémaillère’s bank statements.
She modified those bank statements by changing negative balances to positive balances.
Meyzen also removed references to checks returned for insufficient funds and to reduce service fees.
One lender discovered that Meyzen had altered the bank statements. She then created an email account in the name of one of the bank’s officers. Using the fake email account, she sent the lender an email stating the statements were genuine.
La Crémaillère Restaurant Owner Also Filed Bogus Documents With Westchester County
Meyzen falsely claimed that the second mortgage on the restaurant’s property had been discharged. She created a false satisfaction of mortgage on which she forged the signature of a representative of the mortgagee.
The mortgagee is Meyzen’s relative by marriage.
She filed the false satisfaction of mortgage with the Westchester County Clerk. She then sent a copy of the filed satisfaction of mortgage to the lender.
Meyzen denied filing the false satisfaction of mortgage or paying the filing fee when interviewed by the FBI. She told the FBI that she believed a loan broker had filed the false satisfaction of mortgage.
La Crémaillère Restaurant Owner “Accidentally” Charges Customer $80,000
The customer discovered the charges and notified La Crémaillère. Meyzen claimed the charges were a mistake. She repeatedly promised to resolve the problem.
Meyzen gave the customer two checks in a total amount of $32,000. However, the checks bounced. Meyzen denied knowing anything about unauthorized charges to the customer’s credit card to the FBI. She also denied ever speaking with the customer about the unauthorized charges and denied giving the customer checks.
The La Crémaillère Restaurant Bankruptcy
Meyzen Family Realty Associates, LLC owns the property the restaurant operates. It filed for bankruptcy in September 2018. La Crémaillère Restaurant Corporation operates the restaurant. that entity filed for bankruptcy in April 2019.
Meyzen is a part-owner of both entities. In May 2019, Meyzen misled the Bankruptcy Trustee about insurance coverage on the restaurant property.
Meyzen gave the Trustee and an attorney for Meyzen Family Realty documents indicating that the property was insured. Yet, Meyzen was aware the insurance coverage had been canceled months earlier.
A representative from her insurance broker had contacted her multiple times about the cancellation of the policies.
Two days after La Crémaillère filed for bankruptcy, Meyzen opened a bank account in her name. She then diverted more than $40,000 of the restaurant’s credit card receipts to that account. Meyzen used a portion of that money to make payments to a food distributor and to an in-home nursing service.
Meyzen closed the account on May 1, 2019. On May 7, 2019, she opened an account in the name of Honey Bee Farm, LLC at another bank. Consequently, she diverted La Crémaillère’s credit card receipts, as well as $20,000 to that account.
The Feds Indict La Crémaillère Restaurant Owner
Federal prosecutors charged Meyzen with one count of aggravated identity theft, one count of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. In addition, prosecutors charged her with one count of credit card fraud and two counts of making false statements. Furthermore, they also charged her with one count of concealing a debtor’s property.
Meyzen is looking at a maximum prison sentence of 65 years.