A Merrick woman who worked at a Plainview firm was sentenced Thursday for stealing more than $450,000 from her employer. Having already returned $292,000, she was reordered to pay the remaining stolen funds, authorities said.
Joanne Rocca, 68, who pleaded guilty in February 2014 to second-degree grand larceny, was sentenced to five years probation and restitution of $164,432.88, according to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
Rocca had worked as a bookkeeper for a Plainview building maintenance and real estate firm, where she forged her boss’s signature on checks made out to herself and arranged automatic payments from company accounts to pay her personal bills, the DA’s office said.
The money was to pay her cable television, gasoline, grocery, and utility bills, and to purchase home furnishings, according to the DA’s office.
Since pleading guilty, Rocca served four months in jail.
“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,” Rice said.
Attorney Anthony LaPinta of Hauppauge, in representing Rocca, said she is "a loving mother and devoted wife who has the full support of her family and friends," according to Newsday.
The DA’s office said Rocca's employer discovered the theft in May 2011 by finding 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.