MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that a Merrick woman was sentenced today for stealing more than $450,000 from a Plainview building maintenance and real estate firm where she worked as a bookkeeper by forging her boss’s signature on checks made out to herself and by arranging automatic payments from company accounts to pay personal bills.
Joanne Rocca, 68, of Merrick, was sentenced today by Nassau County Court Judge Christopher Quinn to five years of probation and restitution of $164,432.88. Rocca has previously served four months in jail and made $292,000 restitution. Rocca pleaded guilty in February 2014 to Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree (a C felony).
“I am pleased that the company that had its trust violated repeatedly has gotten much of its money back, and that this defendant has been held accountable for her crimes,” DA Rice said.
DA 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 to pay her cable television, gasoline, grocery, and utility bills, and to purchase home furnishings.
The theft was discovered in May 2011 when her employer found 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. DA investigators made the arrest on May 8, 2013.
Assistant District Attorney Peter J. Mancuso of DA Rice’s Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting the case. Rocca is represented by Anthony LaPinta, Esq.