The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT SWEET, Senior District Judge
Defendant Denise O'Connor ("O'Connor") pled guilty on February 5,
2004 to one count of Mail Fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341,
and one count of Theft of Government Funds, in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 641. From approximately May 2003 through
approximately August 2003, O'Connor engaged in a scheme to defraud the
Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (the "LMDC") and the United
States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") of grant
money by making false representations in a grant application that she
was renting and residing in an apartment on Catherine Street in
Manhattan on or before September 11, 2001 and that she intended to
reside at that address for two years commencing June 1, 2002. As a
result, the LMDC mailed checks totaling $2,228.50 to O'Connor, constituting
grant money from HUD to which she knew she was not entitled. O'Connor
will be sentenced to time served to run concurrently with the sentence
imposed in New York County Supreme Court (Ind. 4561-2003), to be
followed by three years of supervised release. Restitution in the amount of $2,228.50 is ordered, and a
special assessment fee of $200 is mandatory.
This statement of facts draws on the Presentence Investigation Report
prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.
O' Connor was born in New York, New York on October 26, 1960, and is
one of five children born to the union of John and Theresa O'Connor.
O'Connor reported that she was raised in middle-class conditions in
Manhattan and described her childhood and upbringing as "beautiful." She
also reported that her mother died in 1998 after suffering from emphysema
and her father died in 2002 after a battle with cancer.
O'Connor reported that she graduated from the Saint Alphonse School in
lower Manhattan in 1978, and that after high school she completed a
training program in the care and transport of disabled persons.
O'Connor advised that she has been married once and has no children.
She married Gerard Hepsen in Arizona approximately four years ago. She believes her husband to be dead but is not
In or about 1992, according to O'Connor, she was struck by a car and
suffered debilitating injuries to her back and head which resulted in her
being hospitalized for approximately one month. She advised that,
presently, she is unable to sit or stand for long periods of time, and
she has been unable to work since her accident. The accident reportedly
occurred while O'Connor was working for the Jolo Bus Company as an escort
for disabled individuals, a company for which she had worked since
O'Connor stated that after the death of her mother in 1998 she began
suffering from anxiety and hyperactivity. She further stated that, as a
result of one of her prior convictions, she was ordered to undergo weekly
mental health treatment. She also advised that she takes an anti-anxiety
medication, which she says makes her feel calmer. She added that she
feels the counseling and medication are helpful.
O'Connor also reportedly takes glucose medication daily. According to a
presentence report prepared in 2003 by the New York City Department of
Probation, O'Connor had been using heroin for about one year and had also
been participating in a methadone program. O'Connor reported no significant assets or liabilities, and a credit
check revealed no open credit accounts and two collection accounts
totaling $330. She reported that as a result of her injuries in 1992, she
has been sustained by workmen's compensation benefits in the amount of
$80 per week, as well as by her family.
O'Connor has three prior convictions. In 1998 O'Connor was arrested and
subsequently convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance
in the Seventh Degree. According to the presentence report prepared for
that offense, O'Connor was arrested after she sold a quantity of
methadone to an undercover officer in exchange for $30. On July 29, 1998,
O'Connor was sentenced to three years' probation for the offense, and she
was discharged from probation supervision on April 20, 2001.
In September of 2000, O'Connor was arrested and later convicted of
Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree. According to the presentence
report prepared for the offense, O'Connor was observed by a firefighter
setting a shirt on fire with matches and placing it inside a vehicle.
After the firefighter extinguished the shirt, O'Connor reportedly grabbed
the shirt, set it on fire again, and placed it in a dumpster. On March
15, 2001, O'Connor was sentenced to six months' imprisonment and five
years' probation, but she was discharged from supervision on December
9, 2003 as a result of a third arrest and conviction in 2003. In August 2003, O'Connor was arrested and subsequently convicted of
Attempted Burglary in the Second Degree, an offense for which she was
sentenced to three years' imprisonment on November 26, 2003. According to
the presentence report for that offense, on August 5, 2003, O'Connor and
an unapprehended man were observed walking out of an apartment, the owner