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May 11, 2011

BOSTON, Mass. - A former Watertown school official was convicted yesterday in federal court of charges that she stole money from the Town of Watertown and filed false tax returns.

SHARON CARDARELLI, 51, of Watertown, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris to a four count indictment charging her with federal program fraud and subscribing to false federal income tax returns.

Had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that CARDARELLI carried out a theft scheme involving the submission of bogus time sheets to the Town of Watertown. Since July 2001, CARDARELLI was employed as the Secretary/Comptroller for the Watertown Middle School. Among her job responsibilities, CARDARELLI processed the payroll for substitute teachers. In processing the payroll, CARDARELLI would prepare substitute time sheets and authorize those time sheets once completed and signed by the substitute. She would then send the authorized time sheets to the Watertown Public School, Business Administration Office, where the actual paychecks were prepared and, thereafter, returned to her for distribution.

At various times between 2004 and 2010, two of CARDARELLI’s relatives occasionally worked as substitute teachers for the Watertown Middle School. In carrying out her theft, CARDARELLI prepared and authorized substitute time sheets in the names of her relatives that falsely included hours that they did not work. CARDARELLI then deposited the payroll checks generated in the name of her relatives, on the basis on the false time sheets she prepared, into her own bank account. CARDARELLI did not report as income on her taxes the money she stole from the Town of Watertown using the bogus time sheet scheme.

Also in her position at the Watertown Middle School, CARDARELLI was responsible for forwarding monies raised by student fund raisers to the Watertown Public School, Business Administration Office for deposit into the appropriate student activity account. The investigation revealed that CARDARELLI skimmed a portion of the cash raised by Watertown Middle School student activities for herself and made numerous corresponding cash deposits into her personal bank account. CARDARELLI did not report as income on her federal income tax returns the monies she stole from Watertown Middle School student activity fund raisers.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “Ms. Cardarelli’s actions are not only an abuse of public trust, it is reprehensible that she would steal from the Town and its students during a time when schools districts are suffering from major budget cutbacks and families are called upon to raise money for a host of student activities.”

Judge Saris scheduled sentencing for August 30, 2011 at 2:30 pm. CARDARELLI faces up to 10 years in prison to be followed by thee years of supervised release and a
$250,000 fine on the federal program fraud charge, and three years imprisonment to be followed by one year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine per count on the tax fraud charges.

U.S. Attorney Ortiz, William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation - Boston Field Office and Watertown Police Chief Edward P. Deveau made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Freniere of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit.



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