Bookkeeper Faces Embezzlement Charges for Second Time Featured

By Staff Writer September 12, 2018

A Rhode Island woman has been charged with allegedly using forged business checks, stealing as much as $400,000 from a used-car dealership where she was employed as an office manager and bookkeeper.

Michelle Saritelli is charged with bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. It is alleged that Saritelli employed several schemes to defraud the owners of Stamas Auto and Truck Center in Cranston.

This isn’t the first-time Saritelli has faced these kind of charges. According to court documents, she was convicted in Rhode Island State Court in May 2004 on charges that she embezzled approximately $30,000 from a Johnston auto dealership.

This time, 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 owners notified Cranston Police detectives who sought the assistance of the FBI.

The majority of missing bank ledgers was located during a court-authorized search of Saritelli’s house on June 7.

Saritelli was employed at Stamas Auto Center from April 2008 to October 2018. A forensic audit conducted by the FBI determined that for several years, she allegedly fraudulently wrote, signed, and cashed and/or deposited Stamas Auto Center non-payroll checks into her own personal bank accounts; pocketed substantial portions of checks written and cashed on a weekly basis to fund the dealership’s petty cash fund; provided fraudulent checks to her husband for auto repair services and parts sales not provided; and stole portions of cash payments made by customers to Stamas Auto Center.

The forensic audit revealed hundreds of bank transactions of cash deposits and withdrawals from Saritelli’s personal bank accounts that often coincided with the issuance of fraudulent Stamas Auto Center business checks and unaccounted for cash. The majority of cash withdrawals from Saritelli’s accounts were made from ATMs at banks located near Saritelli’s South Kingstown residence and at casinos in Newport, Lincoln, and at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 September 2018 20:40

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