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May 8, 2013

Merrick Woman Charged With Stealing More Than $450K From Her Employer

Rocca used position as bookkeeper to embezzle funds; faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced today that a Merrick woman has been arrested for stealing more than $450,000 from the real estate firm where she worked as a bookkeeper by paying her bills with the company checkbook and forging her boss’s signature on checks she made out to her herself.Joanne Rocca

Joanne Rocca, 67, of Merrick, was arrested this morning by DA Investigators and charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and 37 counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted and is scheduled to be arraigned later today in First District Court, Hempstead.

Rice said that between July 2004 and April 2011, Rocca used her position as the bookkeeper for a Plainview-based building maintenance and real estate firm to embezzle more than $456,000 from her employer by arranging automatic payments from the company’s accounts to pay personal bills and forging the owner’s signature on company checks. She used the stolen cash by pay her cable television, gasoline, grocery, and utility bills, and to purchase home furnishings.

The theft was discovered in May 2011 when her employer discovered a company check made out to Rocca’s American Express account on her desk while she was at lunch. Though Rocca denied using company money to pay her own bills, an internal review of the company’s checkbook, bank statements, and accounts revealed the extent of Rocca’s theft.

“For Ms. Rocca to steal this much money over such an extended period of time shows a complete disregard for the rule of the law and a total lack of respect for the trust placed in her by her employer,” Rice said.

Assistant District Attorney Peter J. Mancuso of the DA’s Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting the case. Rocca is represented by Anthony LoPinto, Esq.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty