GREENWICH, CONN. -- A former Greenwich woman has been sentenced to four years behind bars for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from her former employer and others, prosecutors said.
Debra Biagi, 50, who pleaded guilty in August to one count of wire fraud, was sentenced Friday, Jan. 20, by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in New Haven, according to Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. attorney for Connecticut.
Biagi had been employed by HB Nitkin Group of Greenwich, a privately owned real estate management and development firm.
As an assistant to the company’s chairman, Biagi was responsible for managing the money it owed to suppliers.
According to Daly, the thefts — totaling $711,074.39 — took place from February 2014 to December 2015.
She has been ordered to make full restitution, Daly said.
Her victims included the company itself, as well as key company members and members of their families who kept financial and banking information at the company.
Daly said Biagi created fake invoices made out to fictitious companies for items such as masonry, carpentry, electrical and plumbing work. She then used her victims’ checkbooks to make checks out to the fictitious companies, but deposited the checks into her own bank account.
Biagi endorsed some of the checks with an illegible signature to hide her scheme, and then withdrew the monies for her personal use, Daly said.
To keep track of which invoices were fictitious and which checks were made to fictitious companies, Biagi often included her initials “DB” in the fabricated company name listed on the invoice and check. She then noted the fictitious company as the payee in the relevant accounting records at the company and filed the fabricated invoices as business record, Daly said.
When needed, she also stole the signature stamp of the company’s chairman and used it to “sign” the misappropriated checks and to falsely suggest that the paid expenditure was both legitimate and authorized, Daly said.
At other times, Daly said, Biagi simply stole checks from company employees and either made them out to cash, or endorsed to cash checks that already listed a payee.
The Fogelsville, Pa., resident must also submit to three years of supervision after her release from prison, Daly said.
The case was investigated by the FBI and Greenwich Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.