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NYC ACS worker forged poor kids’ signatures to pocket nearly $5K in gift cards: prosecutors

A disgraced bigwig at the city Administration for Children’s Services stole thousands of dollars in gift cards from disadvantaged kids — by forging their signatures to fuel her lavish lifestyle, Manhattan prosecutors alleged Tuesday.

Courtney Ramirez, who served as an executive director at ACS, was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with grand larceny in the third degree, a felony, after allegedly pocketing $4,900 in gift cards from programs she oversaw while at the agency.

Courtney Ramirez allegedly stole $4,900 in gift cards that were meant to be given to kids in ACS. Steven Hirsch
Courtney Ramirez allegedly stole $4,900 in gift cards that were meant to be given to kids in ACS. Steven Hirsch

Ramirez, 51, was earning $111,474 in her cushy role as the Administrative Director of Social Services in 2023, according to public records.

She was tasked with distributing Visa gift cards — each valued at $350 — to youths participating in the agency’s leadership development program, prosecutors alleged.

But instead of helping the poor kids, Ramirez allegedly kept the gift cards for herself and used them to pay for personal expenses or to purchase gifts for others, according to the criminal complaint.

Ramirez allegedly forged the signatures of poor kids on paperwork to make it appear as if they were the ones receiving the gift cards, prosecutors said. Facebook/Courtney Ramirez
Ramirez allegedly forged the signatures of poor kids on paperwork to make it appear as if they were the ones receiving the gift cards, prosecutors said. Facebook/Courtney Ramirez

She carried out the scheme by forging the signatures of the needy children on paperwork to make it appear as if they were the ones receiving the gift cards, prosecutors said.

In total, Ramirez allegedly stole 14 gift cards valued at a combined $4,900 between February and August 2019, according to the complaint.

Prosecutors said Ramirez acted as the point person for ACS’ “Close to Home” program, which places young kids who are ordered by Family Court to live outside their homes in communities close to their own. She also ran the “Leadership Incentive Training Program for Youths,” whose participants were intended to receive the gift cards.

Ramirez boasted about building a “family legacy” on her Facebook page. Facebook/Courtney Ramirez
Ramirez boasted about building a “family legacy” on her Facebook page. Facebook/Courtney Ramirez

Ramirez said she left ACS in June 2023 after eight years, according to her LinkedIn page, where she boasts about being a “leader in juvenile justice system reform.”

She’s currently listed as being employed as the founder and lead consultant for “Task Strategists,” a position she started in January 2023, per her LinkedIn.

At her arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court Tuesday, Ramirez was released on her own recognizance by Judge Jonathan Svetkey, as the charges are not bail eligible.

She did not respond to questions from reporters about why she allegedly stole money from poor children. Her defense attorney, Eric Bernstein, also did not comment.

Ramirez is no longer an employee of ACS. Steven Hirsch
Ramirez is no longer an employee of ACS. Steven Hirsch

Ramirez was offered a plea deal by Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Shrey Sharma in which she would cop to a charge of official misconduct, a misdemeanor, and pay $4,900 in restitution to ACS — good until her next court date April 9.

An ACS spokesperson said in a statement to The Post that the agency immediately notified authorities after they learned about Ramirez’s alleged misdeeds.

“ACS holds our staff to the highest standards. This type of behavior is not tolerated and was immediately reported to authorities,” the spokesperson said.

In her last position there as the executive of special projects, which she served as from July 2020 to June 2023, Ramirez claimed on LinkedIn she was “responsible for developing innovative strategies to address identified issues of concern across ACS’ community and facility-based juvenile justice program areas.”

Ramirez was released on her own recognizance. Steven Hirsch
Ramirez was released on her own recognizance. Steven Hirsch

She also said her work “focused on building relationships with youth and family members personally impacted and affected by ACS systems,” according to her profile.

She recently claimed in a Facebook post that she was “dedicated” to building a family legacy through hard work — and has posted more than a dozen videos of herself flaunting different outfits.