NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Less than a month after accepting a plea deal for embezzling more than $1 million from the New York Archdiocese, Anita Collins, 68, was sentenced to four and a half to nine years in prison.
As part of the plea deal, Collins will also be required to pay back every penny she stole and return everything she bought with the embezzled funds, the judge said Thursday.
WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reports
Judge Lewis Bart Stone told her “you were put into a position of trust by a trusting religious organization and you stole a million dollars. It’s an outrageous amount,” WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.
An order of restitution will require Collins to repay the $1 million she stole and prosecutors will seize any property she bought with the stolen money, Cornell reported.
Judge Stone also referenced Collins’ criminal history of embezzlement, telling her, “the church gave you a second chance and look what you did,” Cornell reported.
The devout Catholic woman from the Bronx pleaded guilty to charges that she falsified records and wrote checks to herself.
Prosecutors said Collins issued 450 checks of $2,500 or less, which was below the threshold for approval by supervisors.
She had worked in the finance office of the New York Archdiocese since 2003 until she was fired from her job last December after the alleged fraud was uncovered by the archdiocese.
Prosecutors said Collins used the stolen funds to buy expensive clothing, furniture and a high-priced doll collection.
The plea deal came after months of negotiations with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Collins has a criminal past that the archdiocese didn’t know about. In 1999, she pleaded guilty to grand larceny of $46,000 from a temporary employment agency.
The archdiocese said Collins was hired before their criminal background check went into effect.
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