A surveillance video purportedly captured a New York City investigator removing jewelry and cash amounting to nearly $500 from the apartment of a deceased man. The investigator’s resignation has incited public outrage and has been described as a shocking incident. As a staff investigator for the Bronx Public Administrator’s Office, Felix R. Conde was responsible for compiling a list of the possessions of deceased individuals who passed away without a testamentary document.
The three-camera, motion-activated surveillance system in the Belmont apartment where 71-year-old William Figueroa died of a heart attack on December 5 captured the event. Ten days following the demise of Figueroa, Conde, who was identified as the sole full-time “decedent property agent” in the Bronx, was captured on video conducting an extensive investigation of Figueroa’s residence. It appeared that he removed items without securing them in evidence bags as is required by law.
The video was discovered on the phone of Elizabeth Ayala, the niece of Figueroa, which was connected to the surveillance system. She voiced her dismay, emphasizing the breach of confidence committed by an individual who had vowed to fulfill their responsibility to the deceased and their families. Although she described the incident as a “lapse in judgment,” Matilde Sanchez, the Bronx Public Administrator, verified that Conde admitted to stealing $492 in cash, a chain, and a ring from Figueroa’s apartment.
Conde refuted the allegations and provided an explanation for the non-appearance of plastic sacks intended for evidence collection during that period. Ayala, on the other hand, refutes Conde’s assessment of the sum, implying that her uncle had amassed a greater sum of money in anticipation of his funeral expenditures. Notwithstanding this, failure to make arrangements by February 21 would have resulted in Figueroa’s remains being interred in a mass burial situated on Hart Island.
Sanchez has vowed to overhaul the office’s procedures in the wake of the incident; this includes appointing a personal overseer, either herself or her delegate, to conduct residence inspections. Once more, systemic flaws within the public administrator offices of New York City have been brought to light by this case, which has a history of comparable lapses and malfeasance.
Ayala has established a GoFundMe page in an effort to procure funds to cover the costs associated with arranging a dignified funeral for her uncle. She emphasized the significance of accountability in such delicate positions while criticizing Sanchez’s management. As the family of Figueroa strives for retribution and a dignified burial, Inspector General for Fiduciary Appointments in the Office of Court Administration, Milton Yu, is presently conducting an investigation into the case.