Criminal Justice News

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Former Avila Controller Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

Stole More than $1.5 Million from Local Housing Corporation

ALBANY, NY—The former controller for Avila, William Sorriento, 53, of Mechanicville, New York, pled guilty today to wire fraud before United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino announced United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Special-Agent-in-Charge Clifford C. Holly of the Albany Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sentencing is scheduled for October 18, 2012. Sorriento faces up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the pecuniary gain to the Defendant or loss to any victim, whichever is greater. Sorriento will also be required to forfeit any proceeds of the crime, pay restitution to the victim, and pay a $100 special assessment.

From May 2005 through August 2011, William Sorriento worked as the controller for the Teresian House Housing Corporation, doing business as Avila (“Avila”). In June 2009, the Alchester Group LLC assumed management of and day-to-day responsibility for Avila through a consulting agreement and, from that point on, Sorriento reported to the Alchester Group LLC. As part of his duties, Sorriento prepared checks, reconciled monthly bank statements, and created monthly financial reports. Sorriento was not an authorized signatory for checks.

Between September 30, 2010 and May 13, 2011, Sorriento stole $1,582,281 from Avila’s checking account by writing checks to himself and others. After forging any necessary signatures, Sorriento deposited the money into his personal bank account and used the money to gamble and trade options. For example, on February 24, 2011, he wired $95,000 from his Citizens Bank account in Clifton Park, New York to optionsXpress in Chicago, Illinois. Sorriento also created false entries in the ledger to conceal his theft.

The investigation was conducted by the Albany Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The United States is represented in this prosecution by Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth C. Coombe.

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