Ex-bookkeper Angela DiPietro-Sabatine admits to stealing $2.6M from Delaware River waterfront agency to gamble and go on getaway

Versie Dortch

A former bookkeeper for the federal government-backed nonprofit that manages Penn’s Landing, Spruce Street Harbor Park, and other riverfront attractions agreed Friday to spend approximately 5 a long time in jail soon after admitting to embezzling extra than $2.6 million from the group.

Angela DiPietro-Sabatine, who managed the funds of the Delaware River Waterfront Corp. from 1996 to 2019, advised a federal judge she took the dollars to gas a gambling behavior and to fund vacation resort vacations in the Bahamas and Hawaii.

Though she agreed to pay back back the money she stole, plead responsible to counts of wire fraud, financial institution fraud and aggravated identification theft, and struck a offer with prosecutors to make certain they would endorse she invest no additional than 65 months in prison, it will be up to U.S. District Judge Joshua D. Wolson to make your mind up whether to accept all those phrases at her sentencing listening to in May perhaps.

Prosecutors say DiPietro-Sabatine, 57, of Pennsauken, routinely used her accessibility to the DRWC’s publications to attract up bogus invoices, reduce checks payable to herself, and forge signatures of nonprofit executives so she could transfer funds into her account.

Because she allegedly shown the withdrawals as payments to reputable suppliers, the organization’s auditors unsuccessful to discover the missing money for at minimum 7 a long time.

They uncovered the false payments immediately after DiPietro-Sabatine was fired for what the nonprofit explained as “unrelated overall performance issues” and she was no for a longer period there to clarify the discrepancies away.

Appearing in court docket Friday, DiPietro spoke softly as Wolson ran her by way of a collection of simple issues to assure she recognized the terms of her plea settlement.

She struggled to communicate up as prosecutors laid out their circumstance in opposition to her, and the choose asked irrespective of whether they had correctly explained what she’d finished.

“Pretty a lot,” she stated haltingly.

Her lawyer, Nino V. Tinari, explained minor in court docket during Friday’s hearing and did not promptly reply to requests for comment afterward.

Prosecutors have beforehand mentioned DiPietro-Sabatine invested at least $10,000 of her sick-gotten funds at space casinos every single thirty day period. In 1 instance, she allegedly lost far more than $34,000 during a 2017 gambling vacation to California.

The relaxation purportedly went toward outings to Lake Tahoe, Disney Earth, the Atlantis Vacation resort in the Bahamas, and the Hawaiian Disney Resort.

At the time of DiPietro-Sabatine’s arrest in April, an agency spokesperson said that the theft, when important, is not predicted to effects DRWC’s long term operations due to the fact it was spread out in excess of quite a few a long time.

The nonprofit has vowed to shore up its financial controls to reduce equivalent staff thefts in the long term .

The DRWC was set up to develop the publicly owned waterfront land concerning Oregon and Allegheny Avenues. The nonprofit launched and manages quite a few leisure locations this sort of as Penn’s Landing, the Spruce Street Harbor Park, and the Blue Cross RiverRink festivals.

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