A pair of morbid New York City mortuary technicians became ghouls gone wild, nickel-and-diming the dead out of thousands of dollars in debit card purchases, authorities said Tuesday.
Charles McFadgen, 66, and Willie Garcon, 50, who worked for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, thought no one would notice when they started using dead people’s credit and debit cards to purchase such items as an air conditioning unit and airline tickets, officials said.
But when Garcon was arrested in New Jersey in May 2020, cops found credit and debit cards and other things belonging to other people in his car — including the possessions of four dead people, prosecutors said.
Garcon is accused of spending more than $6,500 in unauthorized purchases that included the use of credit cards belonging to dead people.
And McFadgen is accused of more than $13,500 in illegal purchases using the cards of five dead people, authorities said.
Garcon, who also worked as a mortuary technician in New Jersey, was separately charged in Burlington County for a similar crime last year.
McFadgen was a 13-year veteran of the ME’s Office, while Garcon was in the office for just two years.
Prosecutors said McFadgen’s unauthorized use of the cards began in 2014 when he charged one card 374 times after the owner died, running up a tab of more than $7,500.
In 2016, McFadgen took the credit card of someone who died in Queens and used it five times, spending about $300, authorites said.
On top of the theft from the five dead people, McFadgen also used the credit cards of three living victims, according to the criminal complaint.
In a March 22 interview with law enforcement, McFadgen admitted to his petty scheme, saying he used the cards given to him by other OCME coworkers to buy small things, officials said.
“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,” wrote Kerry Calnan, an FBI agent in a criminal complaint.
Garcon used the credit card of one dead person, identified only as Decedent-3 in the complaint, to buy American Airlines tickets to Florida in May 2020, officials said.
Around the same time, he bought an air-conditioning unit using Decedent-4 1/4 u2032s credit card and sent the unit to a home owned by his wife in Boca Raton, according to the complaint.
McFadgen was released on $75,000 bail. He wore a “Black Lives Matter” mask as he left Brooklyn Federal Court. He declined to comment.
Garcon was released on $50,000 bail. He also declined to comment.
The investigation was done jointly by the FBI, the NYPD and the city’s Department of Investigation.
It was not immediately clear if more OCME employees would be charged with similar crimes.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn declined to comment on other arrests.