dr martens knee high Former White Sands manager sentenced for embezzling
A Lusby woman formerly serving as the property manger for the White Sands Civic Association is serving five years of prison time for recurring incidents where she embezzled $175,000 from the association, leaving bank accounts depleted. She is also required to pay back the embezzled money.
Mattie Michele Scicchitano, 46, was indicted on a single count of theft scheme of more than $100,000, online court records show. She entered a guilty plea to the charge Nov. 13, at which time a pre sentence investigation was ordered to be completed before the Jan. 29 sentencing.
On April 17, Det. Wayne Wells of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office was informed about a possible fraud case by Curt Hilpipre, president of the White Sands Civic Association. Hilpipre said Scicchitano, while serving as the property manager for White Sands, embezzled a large amount of money from the organization over at least 10 years, previous reports state.
The investigation revealed Scicchitano fraudulently accessed three different bank accounts for the White Sands Civic Association. She forged numerous documents and checks by endorsing her name and depositing checks in her personal account, according to the reports. There were checks written to her and money transfers totaling approximately $200,000, dating back to 2013.
After noticing the crimes, Hilpipre asked Scicchitano for the bank statements, which she could not produce. Numerous checks were missing from the White Sands Civic Association’s checkbook, bank statements were missing from the file folders for each of the accounts and some documents were fraudulent, the report details. Hilpipre provided a written statement for a conversation with Scicchitano in which she confessed to stealing money from the association for approximately 10 years.
Further investigation revealed Scicchitano attempted to conduct fraudulent transactions through the White Sands Civic Association’s merchant accounts as well. Supporting documents were provided by Hilpipre for the time frame of March 17 to April 17, where more than 600 transactions were made by Scicchitano in various amounts, totaling $2,259,465. According to the documents, an additional 75 transactions were made from December 2016 to June that totaled $289,299.50. Only a few of these transactions were successfully completed.
On April 25, Wells met with Scicchitano, at which time she said she retained an attorney in the case. The Calvert County Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigations Bureau executed the search and seizure May 11, at which time numerous items of evidence were located,
including electronic devices and four boxes of materials belonging to the White Sands Civic Association. These documents had no evidentiary value, so assistant state’s attorney Michael Morgan approved the items to be released back to the civic association, the reports detail.
An arrest warrant was issued to Scicchitano June 5 and served three days later. She was released from the detention center that day on her own recognizance.
Scicchitano was represented by private attorney Monte Montgomery Jr. at her sentencing Monday morning, while Morgan prosecuted. Due to the Justice Reinvestment Act that took effect Oct. 1, Scicchitano’s sentence guidelines decreased from two to five years of active time to probation to two years. The law is a nationwide, data driven approach to improve public safety, reduce corrections spending and reinvest savings in evidence based strategies to decrease crime and reduce recidivism.
A number of letters were submitted to the court prior to sentencing, including victim impact statements from the civic association and letters from health and church officials on behalf of Scicchitano. Both sides also referred to the pre sentence investigation throughout the court proceeding.
Although Scicchitano stole from the civic association’s accounts, Montgomery told the court that his client had been funneling money back into the accounts for some time. Montgomery said she took the money to assist friends and family members. He presented a $61,000 check to the association at sentencing, leaving Scicchitano $114,000 left to pay in restitution.
“She had a position of trust with White Sands and she abused that trust,” Montgomery said, adding that Scicchitano made a public confession at church and has remained cooperative throughout the process.
The Rev. Josh Olson of Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Lusby described the changes he has seen in Scicchitano’s life over the past nine months he has worked with her. He met her after she came into his office explaining that she was trying to find a church home.
“It’s been a blessing to see Mattie confess her sins privately, receive that absolution, and then to do that publicly is just a blessing,” Olson explained.
Montgomery said a five year Department of Corrections sentence would do no more than an 18 month jail sentence, as Scicchitano would be eligible for parole around 18 months into that prison sentence. He referred to her as a prime candidate for home detention and requested any active time be local at the detention center.
“What’s the appropriate sentence for someone who has been stealing from their community for 10 years?” Morgan rhetorically asked when beginning his argument.
Morgan requested Circuit Judge Marjorie Clagett deal a 20 year sentence with all but five years suspended. Some of the reasons he listed for going above the sentence guidelines were that Scicchitano was in a position of trust, the incident is a white collar crime and she played a major role in the offense. Morgan also took exception with Scicchitano’s reasoning for taking the money, adding that she is trying to paint herself as a Robin Hood. He concluded that it doesn’t matter why the money was stolen.
Representing the civic association, Hilpipre emotionally described how the crime has had ripple effects throughout the Lusby community to include nearly putting the organization in bankruptcy, requiring the association to secure a new mortgage and restricting the association from installing street lights or fixing potholes.
“Five years should be the bare minimum because I have to live with this every day. Unfortunately, it’s not Robin Hood because she’s robbing from the poor to give to who knows who or who knows what,” Hilpipre told the court, specifying that this was not a victimless crime.
During her allocution, Scicchitano apologized for her actions and said nothing was done with malice. She referred to a burden of relief after her actions came to light and she no longer had to carry the secret.
“I’m working hard with the help of my family to repay my debt and I’m prepared to face my consequences,” she said.
Clagett sentenced Scicchitano to 15 years with all but five suspended, along with five years of supervised probation, during which time she must pay $5,
700 to the civic association quarterly every year.