AP audit uncovers $900,000 embezzlement by archdiocese CFO

The ex-chief financial officer of the Philadelphia Roman Catholic Archdiocese pled guilty to charges of embezzling over $900,000 from her former employer.

Anita Guzzardi is accused of stealing nearly $1 million from the religious organization over a period of six years, reports The Associated Press. She faces charges of theft by deception, forgery and unlawful use of a computer. She had worked at the archdiocese for 22 years and had been recently promoted to the position of CFO a few weeks before the theft was discovered, states the news source.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Guzzardi would write checks from her employer's bank accounts to herself in order to pay her personal American Express credit card bills, which she used to go on vacations and even gamble at casinos. The illegal activity went unnoticed until a fraud investigator with the credit card company contacted the Philadelphia Archdiocese to inquire why there were charges from a casino apparently made by the organization. The District Attorney's Office then conducted an accounts payable audit which revealed the embezzlement, says the newspaper.

The AP writes that Guzzardi has paid back over $250,000 in restitution so far and she is awaiting her sentencing in August.

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