A Merrick woman could face four years in jail after pleading guilty to stealing more than $450,000 from her employer to pay for gas, groceries, cable, and home furnishings, according to the Nassau County District Attorney’s office.
Joanne Rocca, 68, of Merrick, pleaded guilty in court Thursday to second-degree grand larceny. Prosecutors suggested a sentence of between 16 months to four years for the crime in addition to a restitution of $164,432.88, said the DA’s office. Rocca has already made restitution of $292,000.
Rocca was charged with embezzling $456,000 from a Plainview real estate firm where she worked as a bookkeeper, said the DA. Between 2004 and 2011, Rocca reportedly stole the cash by arranging automatic payments from the company’s accounts to pay her own bills. The DA said she forged the company owner’s signature on company checks and used the money to pay for cable television, gas, groceries, utility bills, and to pay for home furnishings, the DA reported.
In May 2011, while Rocca was on her lunch break, her boss discovered a company check made out to her American Express account on her desk, said the DA. At first, Rocca denied the accusation, but an internal review of company finances revealed the embezzlement. She was charged May 8.
"Employees that steal this much money damage the trust placed by employers in their employees and put the fiscal health of companies and the jobs of fellow employees at risk," said DA Kathleen Rice.
Rocca is scheduled to be sentenced June 6.