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Accountant Stole $2.6 Million From NPO

The former accounting manager for the Delaware River Waterfront Corp. (DRWC) in Philadelphia, Pa., was sentenced to more than four years in federal prison for stealing $2.6 million from the nonprofit that she spent on gambling and luxury vacations in the Bahamas, Hawaii and at other resorts.

Angela DiPietro-Sabatine, 57, was sentenced to four years and three months behind bars by U.S. District Court Judge Joshua Wolson in Philadelphia on the guilty pleas she entered in April to wire fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The defendant’s attorney, Nino V. Tinari, did not respond to a request for comment.

The nonprofit’s accounting manager from 1996 to 2019, DiPietro-Sabatine was released after her sentencing with orders to surrender on August 29 to start serving her time in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, according to court records.

DiPietro-Sabatine was charged in April 2021 with creating false bills from legitimate vendors, generating checks to pay the vendors but manipulating accounting software to make herself the payee, and forging the signatures of the DRWC’s president and vice president on the checks before depositing them in her own account, according to information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The charges came two years after she was terminated for what prosecutors called unrelated reasons.

“We were deeply troubled by Ms. Sabatine’s abuse of the trust we placed in her for so many years. And while the DRWC has implemented a number of protections to ensure that it does not happen again, we think that the sentence was appropriate given the severity of the crime and we will continue our efforts to secure restitution of the funds that were stolen,” DRWC President Joseph Forkin said via a prepared statement.

He declined to comment on the implemented financial safeguards and how the thefts, which spanned 2012 to 2019, were ultimately detected.

DRWC records outline that it was formed in 2009 to replace and assume the work of the former nonprofit Penn’s Landing Corp., so-named for the site of William Penn’s arrival in Philadelphia in 1682. The DRWC’s purpose is to work with the city and U.S. government to develop and steward six miles of the Delaware River waterfront’s recreational, cultural and commercial activities under the guidance of a master plan approved by the city. Attractions include Spruce Street Harbor Park, Delaware River Trail, art and music festivals.

According to online court records, the defendant must make full restitution of $2,644,543 to the DRWC, beginning with $25 quarterly payments while in prison and then $200 a month upon release. She also must serve three years of federal probation after her prison stint. The judge referred her to the Inmate Financial Responsibility program and ordered DiPietro-Sabatine to undergo mental health counseling.

 

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