Three people have been charged after an attacker tossed a caustic chemical into a non-profit director's face last year in an effort to cover up embezzlement from the organization, authorities said.
Kim Williams, 47, Pia Louallen, 41, and Jerry Mohammed, 32, were charged with multiple crimes in a 65-count indictment unsealed Tuesday. The charges come after an investigation into the attack that left Hospital Audiences director D. Alexandra Dyer with serious injuries revealed that more than $750,000 had been looted from the organization's coffers.
"This case is troubling on so many different levels," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. "In an atmosphere of such giving, it is disheartening to see an individual allegedly use her position of fiduciary trust to siphon off tens of thousands of dollars in funds for the personal use of herself and another. More disturbing, perhaps, is the same individual allegedly conspiring with another individual to intentionally seriously injure an innocent victim as part of a cover-up."
Brown said that Williams, an accountant at the non-profit, allegedly pilfered about $600,000 from the organization between 2012 and 2015. She also allegedly gave Louallen, a friend, another $150,000 from the organization between 2013 and 2015.
Authorities say that in an attempt to cover up the extortion, Williams allegedly conspired with Mohammed to hurt Dyer. It's not clear how Williams and Mohammed thought that an attack would cover up the alleged extortion.
On Aug. 19, Mohammed allegedly approached Dyer as she was walking to her car, said "can I ask you a question," and tossed a substance similar to Drano into her face.
Witnesses said that after the attack, Dyer drove 200 feet while screaming in agony.
Dyer suffered chemical burns from the attack and had to undergo several surgeries afterward.
Williams and Mohammed both face assault, conspiracy and weapons charges for their roles in the attack. Williams is additionally charged with identity theft and fraud charges, while Louallen is charged with grand larceny and conspiracy.
Christopher Cardillo, an attorney for Louallen, said that his client denied any wrongdoing in the case.
"At the end of this we will see that my client did nothing wrong," he said.
Attorney information for Williams and Mohammed wasn't immediately available.
NBC 4 New York has reached out to the nonprofit, which has since been renamed Healing Arts Initiative, for comment.