Former Steel Valley Authority financial manager pleads guilty to $82K theft
The former financial manager of a Swissvale-based economic development organization that served the Mon Valley region pleaded guilty in federal court to bank fraud and mail fraud for stealing more than $82,000 from the agency’s accounts, according to U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady.
Nicolette Gizzi, 46, of North Huntingdon and the former financial manager for the Steel Valley Authority, pleaded guilty to two counts Friday before U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon in Pittsburgh.
From December 2009 through approximately June 2016, Gizzi embezzled $82,061, prosecutors said. Gizzi admitted she issued checks to herself and her credit card company without authorization and forged the required signatures.
Investigators told Bissoon the funds were primarily public monies. The authority obtains its operating funds through grants from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Gizzi had a prior federal court conviction in South Carolina for embezzling from an employer and owed $141,481 in restitution there.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in South Carolina attempted to collect the restitution by garnishing Gizzi’s paychecks from the Steel Valley Authority. However, Gizzi undertook several fraudulent actions to minimize her garnishment payments and to conceal her previous conviction from the local authority, Brady said.
Bissoon scheduled sentencing for March 14. Gizzi could receive up to 30 years in prison, a fine of $1 million, or both for bank fraud and 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both for mail fraud.