RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A former Red Cross financial director was sentenced in Suffolk County court Wednesday after pleading guilty to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the charity.
This was money people donated to the Red Cross to help victims of Hurricane Katrina and the victims of over 200 house fires in Suffolk County.
Deborah Leggio pleaded guilty to using the Red Cross’s debit card as her own personal ATM – stealing $275,000 from 2005 to 2009.
Prosecutors said she would take out cash every week and use it to buy clothes, shoes, and handbags.
The 50-year-old pleaded with the judge for leniency, saying she was a shopaholic and had obsessive compulsive disorder.
“I am truly sorry,” Leggio said before she was sentenced by state Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro. “I know I betrayed a trust.”
Leggio added, “I am just filled with shame, remorse and guilt.”
But that did not matter to the judge. He sentenced her to two and a third to seven years behind bars.
“The Red Cross is a non-profit. We rely on trust of the public to do what we do. This was a slap in the face of that trust,” the Red Cross’s Sam Kille told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall.
After pleading guilty in January of 2012, Leggio moved to California and was getting paid $75,000 a year to do a similar financial job with another charity, but in a year’s time Leggio only paid back $9,500 in restitution.
In addition to her debt to the Red Cross, she owes $22,000 in New York state taxes.
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