Former Archdiocese CFO pleads guilty to theft

The former chief financial officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has pleaded guilty to stealing $906,000 from church coffers between 2004 and 2011.

Anita Guzzardi, 43, admitted to using checks drawn from Archdiocese bank accounts to pay on her personal credit cards and spending most of that money at casinos. She faces a maximum of 10 1/2 to 21 years in prison at an Aug. 24 sentencing.

Authorities began investigating in July 2011 after being contacted by one of Guzzardi’s credit card companies regarding suspicious activity on her accounts. The investigation revealed that she had used more than 300 checks from the Archdiocese to pay for personal expenses. The District Attorney’s office filed charges in March.

The Archdiocese fired Guzzardi last year when contacted by the D.A.’s office. Authorities have recovered $250,036.59, which has been returned to the Archdiocese.

In exchange for pleading guilty to theft by deception, forgery and unlawful use of a computer, authorities dropped two other theft charges.

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