2001-12-19 -- Mizenis, Marianne -- Sentencing -- News Release

Gloucester Woman Sentenced to 34 Months for Embezzling $600,000 from Employer

NEWARK - A Gloucester County woman was sentenced today to 34 months in prison for embezzling more than $600,000 from a company where she was the office manager and bookkeeper and evading taxes on the proceeds, U.S. Attorney Robert J. Cleary announced.

Marianne Mizenis, 56, of Franklin Township, pleaded guilty on July 24 to Counts One and Five of a six-count Information. Count One charged her with mail fraud; Count Five charged her with income tax evasion for tax year 1996, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas S. Acker.

U.S. District Judge Walls H. Walls also ordered Mizenis to pay restitution of $606,786 and to serve three years' supervised release upon her release from imprisonment. In addition, Mizenis faces civil penalties that may be assessed by the IRS.

Walls ordered Mizenis to voluntarily surrender on Jan. 29 to begin serving her prison sentence. She remains free on $100,000 bail. Judge Walls ordered her travel restricted to New Jersey and Philadelphia.

As the office manager and bookkeeper of G&G Communications, Mizenis handled the payment of bills, maintained its check registers, financial ledgers and journals, and prepared bank account reconciliations.

Mizenis admitted before Judge Walls at her plea hearing that from about January 1993 to about December 1997, she stole more than 294 checks totaling more than $600,000 that were drawn on business accounts of the company. Mizenis admitted that she then converted them to her own use. Mizenis admitted that she mailed the checks to credit card companies to pay for expenses incurred by her and her close friends and family members.

Mizenis obtained the stolen checks by presenting phony and/or duplicate invoices to G&G's owner/president, obtaining his signature on corresponding checks, and then altering the payee and the amount of the signed checks, according to the Information.

Mizenis also admitted failing to report approximately $168,176 in embezzled income and evading tens of thousands of dollars in taxes for the 1996 tax year.

Under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Judge Walls determined the actual sentence based on a formula that takes into account the severity and characteristics of the offense and the defendant's criminal history, if any.

Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Under Sentencing Guidelines, defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time.

Counts Two through Four and Six of the Information, which charge Mizenis with income tax evasion for the 1993 through 1995 and 1997 tax years, were dismissed at sentencing under the terms of the plea agreement. However, the conduct described in all of the counts of the Information was used by Judge Walls in considering sentencing.

Mizenis was arrested in March 1998 by the Franklin Township police after G&G discovered the embezzlement. State charges have been dismissed in light of the federal prosecution.

Cleary credited Special Agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation section, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Anne D. Fahy; investigators in the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Andrew N. Yurick; and detectives of the Franklin Township Police Department, under the direction of Police Chief William Wright, with developing the case against Mizenis.

The Government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Acker of the U.S. Attorney's Fraud and Public Protection Division in Newark.

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Defense Attorney: Donald V. Feeley, Esq. Westmont