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Pittsburgh Fraud Defense Says Depression is to Blame for Lavish Spending

Pittsburgh Fraud Defense Says Depression is to Blame for Lavish Spending


Pittsburgh fraud defense attorneys understand that a former auto dealership controller may be facing more than 6 years in prison for her role in a $10.3 million Pittsburgh fraud scheme.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the 58-year-old woman's target was her former employer, an Acura dealership.

The paper indicates she earned a salary of approximately $53,000. But over the course of more than 6 years, she would make transfers from the dealership to her own personal bank account. Often, this is prosecuted as embezzlement, which generally refers to theft from an employer or theft involving someone who is in a position of trust.

In this case, the woman was prosecuted in federal court, likely due to the sum that was allegedly stolen.

The defendant in this case, who has no prior record, pleaded guilty to the theft and mail fraud. While prosecutors are pushing for the maximum sentence of 6.5 years, her Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys are aiming for something closer to three years, particularly considering she has cooperated with the government in turning herself in and also paying back at least $1 million of the money she took.

The U.S. District judge in the case has said it's unlikely he'll go lower than five years, although he said he intends to look at all the relevant factors in the case.

The newspaper reports that from 2004 to 2011, the woman used the money for a myriad of purposes, including: jewelry, a home, charity auction items, a trip to Rome, operas, a lunch prepared by the Barefoot Contessa at her residence, a Super Bowl trip and dinner with actor Kevin Spacey. She also blew a fair amount of it on gambling.

So far, the defendant has relinquished four homes, 10 vehicles and personal property items both of hers and her son's.

Her Pittsburgh defense attorney said that the motivation behind his client's actions was due to depression that had gone untreated.