Erie County District Attorney Frank A.Sedita, III announces that 35 year-old Candace Cartagena, who was recently convicted of Murder in the 2nd Degree in connection with the death of eight-year old daughter Bianca, pleaded guilty as charged to Offering A False Instrument for Filing in the 1st Degree before Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk. This is the highest charge for which Cartagena could have convicted had she gone to trial. In other words, the defendant was not offered a so-called “plea bargain” and was prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
On February 16, 2011, Cartagena filed her 2010 income tax return, fraudulently claiming three children as dependents: her eight year-old daughter as well as seven year-old and nine year-old boys. In fact, Cartagena had murdered her daughter and the two boys were the children of another woman.
Cartagena faces a maximum of four years in state prison--in addition to an indeterminate sentence having a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life, in connection with her murder conviction--when she is sentenced on August 26, 2014 by Judge Franczyk.
Both cases were successfully prosecuted by ADA Thomas Finnerty, Counsel to the District Attorney; ADA Kristin St. Mary, Chief of DA Sedita’s Felony Trial Bureau; and ADA Ashley Morgan-Morey, who is also assigned the Felony Trial Bureau.