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Press Release

Operator of Horse Rescue Group Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Filing a False Tax Return

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH - A Butler County resident pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of mail fraud and filing a false tax return, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.

Pamela A. Vivirito, 47, of Valencia pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud charged in a second superseding indictment and one count of filing a false tax return charged in an information before Chief United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Vivirito operated a not-for-profit charity called Equine Angels Rescue, Inc. (EAR) which solicited contributions to rescue and rehabilitate horses. Vivirito fraudulently solicited donations and used them for personal expenses. Additionally, Vivirito caused the filing of a fraudulent and false Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax wherein it was reported her compensation was $46,877, when in actuality, Vivirito received compensation in the amount of $93,606.

Judge Conti scheduled sentencing for July 20, 2017 at 2 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 23 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Vivirito.

Updated April 17, 2017