PITTSBURGH, PA - A resident of North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of bank fraud and mail fraud, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
Nicolette Gizzi, 44, pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts before United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon.
In connection with the guilty plea to bank fraud, the court was advised that from December 2009 through approximately June 2016, Gizzi, who was employed as the Financial Manager for Steel Valley Authority, embezzled $82,060.50, which was under the control of PNC Bank. She perpetrated the embezzlement by issuing checks to herself and her credit card company, without authorization, and forging the required signatures. The Court was further advised that the funds at issue were primarily public funds, as Steel Valley Authority obtains it operating funds through grants from the United States Department of Labor.
In connection with the guilty plea to mail fraud, the court was advised that Gizzi had a prior federal court conviction in South Carolina for embezzling from an employer and owed $141,480.60 in restitution. The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina attempted to collect the restitution by issuing a writ of garnishment to Steel Valley Authority. Gizzi, however, received the writ of garnishment and undertook several fraudulent actions to minimize her garnishment payments and to conceal her previous conviction from Steel Valley Authority.
Judge Bissoon scheduled sentencing for March 14, 2019 at 2:15 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 30 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both for bank fraud and 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both for mail fraud. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant United States Attorney Lee J. Karl is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Nicolette Gizzi.