The owner of a religious supplies store on Long Island who is alleged to have sexually assaulted a teenage employee and then conspired to kill him is now facing new fraud charges, Nassau County prosecutors said Friday.
Daniel Miller, 46, was arraigned Friday morning on a 14-count indictment that included charges of grand larceny, scheme to defraud and criminal possession of a forged instrument. Prosecutors say the charges – all felonies – relate to the alleged theft of approximately $206,000 using a series of forged checks.
“There is no such thing as a victimless crime – and this case involving the theft of thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise from five companies unlucky enough to cross this defendant’s path is no exception,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement.
“This case involves mostly bad checks,” defense lawyer Bill Shanahan said. “Once we really investigate these charges, you’re going to find out nothing illegal really transpired.” He said the new charges “are not really significant, as far as the whole picture.”
Miller is facing numerous other felony charges after being accused of spiking the drink of a 17-year-old employee with Lorazepam, an anti-anxiety drug, and then allegedly sexually abusing the teen inside his Inwood store. Police said the boy woke up 12 hours later in Miller’s home. He was later arrested and charged with criminal sexual act.
While he was awaiting trial on the sexual abuse charges, prosecutors indicted Miller in a murder-for-hire plot after he allegedly offered to pay a “hit man” $15,000 to kill the 17-year-old victim in an attempt to prevent him from testifying in the sexual abuse case, authorities said.
Law enforcement officials have also said Miller asked a relative to have a Voodoo doll of his alleged victim created and then stuck with pins. He allegedly told the relative he needed a photo of the victim and dirt to conduct a ritual that would supposedly give the victim cancer, according to authorities. While behind bars, Miller allegedly sought assistance from his mother, Mary, and sister, Ann, in the alleged conspiracy plot. They were both arrested and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges last year.
“He entered a plea of not guilty originally, but we’re still saying he’s not mentally fit,” Shanahan said. “It’s hard. It’s difficult having a conversation with him. He does seem to be delusional at this time. … He talks about the spirits telling him things, he talks about other people, other attorneys giving him advice – he is obviously paranoid so you see it in his writings.”
Miller, who appeared in court Friday in a wheelchair, says he is currently on a hunger strike while behind bars at the Nassau County Jail. His lawyer said that for the past 50 days, Miller has been protesting “abuse” from jail staff in hopes of being transferred to another facility.
A spokesman for the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department said Miller made several allegations about the conditions of his confinement and filed complaints alleging staff misconduct.
“Mr. Miller’s allegations have been investigated by the Sheriff’s Department, with assistance from other law enforcement agencies as necessary, and found to be unsubstantiated,” the spokesman, Captain Michael Golio, said. “As a result of his claimed hunger strike, Mr. Miller has been placed on medical monitoring by facility medical services staff and has consistently been found to be stable without any objective indications of actual participation in a hunger strike.”