August 24, 2012: 43 year old Anita Guzzardi was sentenced to two to sevenyears in prison followed by seven years of probation today by the Honorable Ellen Ceisler. The defendant was also ordered to pay $646,627.77 in restitution. Guzzardi pleaded guilty to Theft by Deception, Forgery and Unlawful Use of a Computer charges in June of 2012. The former CFO for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia admitted to stealing $906,662.93 from the Archdiocese beginning in 2004 until the summer of 2011.
The investigation into Guzzardi began in July 2011, when American Express (AMEX) contacted the District Attorney’s Office Economic Crime Unit to report some suspicious activity with two AMEX accounts of Anita Guzzardi. It was reported that Guzzardi was using numerous checks drawn from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia general fund to pay on her two personal accounts. The District Attorney’s Office then contacted Guzzardi’s employer, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Guzzardi was terminated from her newly-promoted Chief Financial Officer position after she was confronted and initially denied any wrong doing in July of 2011.
The final results of the DA’s investigation revealed that from October 2004 until July of 2011 Guzzardi used 184 Archdiocesan checks to pay her AMEX bills. It was also discovered that Guzzardi had been paying her personal Chase credit card with Archdiocesan funds, and altogether she had used 147 Archdiocesan checks for that account.
Review of both the Chase expenses and one of the AMEX accounts revealed that the vast majority of charges, over $370,000, were comprised of cash advances/purchases at casinos in across the United States, including Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Key West, plus the Caribbean and Mexico. Guzzardi also wrote high dollar checks payable to herself.
The District Attorney’s Economic & Cyber Crime Unit has been able to retrieve $250,036.59 from Guzzardi, all of which has been returned to the Archdiocese.