|By Michael Hinkelman, Philadelphia Daily
NewsMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
September 14, 2010 --For more than six years, Angela I. Borrelli used her position as an assistant corporate controller of a Philadelphia-based hotel-management company to steal almost $1.4 million from her employer.
Borrelli admitted yesterday in federal court that she stole money 182 times from June 7, 2001, to November 2007.
U.S. District Judge Legrome D. Davis sentenced Borrelli to 40 months in a federal lockup and ordered her to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on Nov. 15.
Borrelli, 52, of Swedesboro, N.J., who led an otherwise law-abiding life, told Davis that a troubled marriage, slots gambling and mounting family expenses motivated her thefts.
She said she stole $4,000 the first time and used her knowledge of the company's financial controls to continue stealing.
Borrelli worked for GF Management, Inc., which owns and manages hotels around the U.S.
When Davis pressed her to explain why she did it, she replied: "I needed the money. I knew it was wrong but I thought I could repay it in a week or two."
But Borrelli, who was making $85,000 a year when she began embezzling from her employer, said the bills kept piling up, but playing the slots proved not to be the panacea, and she could never pay any of it back.
Davis said Borrelli's rationalization didn't "resonate" with him, and he ordered her to make restitution.
"You're the sort of person who always knew better and never should have done what you did," the judge said. "You were weak. You were not as strong in your life as people wanted you to be."
Still, Davis said some leniency was warranted based on Borrelli's "candor and insight" into her criminal behavior. (Advisory sentencing guidelines called for 51 to 63 months.)
Borrelli pleaded guilty in March to bank and mail fraud.
Prosecutors said she used her position to access GF Management's computerized accounting system and then entered false vendor names and invoices to make it appear that the company owed money to those vendors.
She then printed out checks on company bank accounts to phony vendors in the amounts of the bogus invoices. The checks also bore as payee the name of her daughter. Authorities said that Borrelli signed her own name to many of the checks and also forged signatures of other authorized signers.
The forged checks were drawn on various bank accounts and funds were deposited in an account in the name of Borrelli as custodian for her daughter.
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