Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III today announced that 34 year old Candace J. Cartagena, presently of Rochester, NY, has been arraigned on two sealed Erie County Grand Jury indictments. Under one indictment, the defendant stands accused of Murder in the Second Degree, in connection with the 2010 asphyxiation death of eight year-old Bianca Cartagena, her biological daughter. Under another indictment, the defendant stands accused of Offering A False Instrument for Filing In The First Degree, in connection with the defendant falsely claiming the existence of children, who were not her own, as dependents on her 2010 New York State tax return; this alleged crime resulted in the defendant fraudulently obtaining financial benefits.
Noting the intensive review and investigation of these cases over the last eight months, which was spearheaded by ADA Thomas Finnerty, Counsel to the District Attorney, Sedita explained the timing of presentment : “every case and every investigation is different. It is more important to make sure the investigation is truly completed and to get the case right rather than to prematurely present it to the Grand Jury.”
The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life imprisonment if convicted of the alleged murder of her child and an additional 1-1/3 to 4 years in if convicted for the alleged scam involving the children of others. The defendant, like any criminal defendant, is legally presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.