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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 17, 2018

Office Manager, Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud

PROVIDENCE – A former office manager and bookkeeper for a used car dealership in Cranston today admitted the she defrauded her former employer by altering and misrepresenting information entered in financial records.

Appearing before U.S. District Court John J. McConnell, Jr., Michelle Saritelli, 45, of South Kingstown, admitted to the Court that from January 2014 to October 5, 2017, she engineered and executed a scheme to defraud the owners of Stamas Auto and Truck Center by pocketing dealership checks and substantial portions of checks cashed on a weekly basis to fund the dealership’s petty cash fund, and by writing checks to her domestic partner for auto repair services and parts sales not provided.

The government alleges that the loss to Stamas Auto is between $250,000 and $560,000.

According to court documents, on September 27, 2017, the owners of Stamas Auto were notified that their bank accounts had been frozen. An internal review of the accounts by the business owners determined that several check ledgers were missing, funds were unaccounted for, and that numerous checks had been forged and/or fraudulently cashed.

The majority of missing bank ledgers were located during a court-authorized search of Saritelli’s residence on June 7, 2018.

An investigation by the Cranston Police Department and the FBI determined that Saritelli deposited stolen funds in bank accounts controlled by her and her parents. The majority of cash was withdrawn from ATMs at banks located near Saritelli’s South Kingstown residence and at casinos in Newport, Lincoln, Foxwoods, and Mohegan Sun.

Saritelli’s guilty plea today to bank fraud is announced by United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Harold H. Shaw, and Cranston Police Chief Colonel Michael J. Winquist.

Saritelli is scheduled to be sentenced on March 18, 2019.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee H. Vilker.

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 490-1092
Press Release Number: 
18-167
Updated December 17, 2018