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Pittsburgh-area car dealer employee to plead guilty to embezzlement

A Pittsburgh-area woman will plead guilty to wire fraud in connection with federal charges that she embezzled perhaps millions of dollars from the car dealership at which she used to work. The woman admitted using the money to buy several houses, cars and luxury items such as jewelry, fine art and a mink coat.

The woman worked as the controller at the Baierl Acura dealership, which is located in Pine Township, about 16 miles from Pittsburgh. According to federal investigators, beginning sometime in 2004 she began transferring money from the business' accounts to ones set up in her name, and covered up the transactions by falsifying financial records.

Exact figures of how much she took were not available in an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but the U.S. Attorney's Office is trying to seize millions of dollars in property. The property under threat of seizure include four homes - three in the Pittsburgh area - 10 vehicles, and several personal items such as a sound system, flat-screen TVs, appliances, a fur coat, and dozens of pieces of jewelry such as diamond earrings and emerald necklaces. Already seized was $170,000 in stock, $33,000 in prepaid airline tickets and $30,000 in cash.

The defendant has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud. She has waived indictment and will formally enter her guilty plea on Jan. 10.

Though all people facing federal charges are entitled to a vigorous defense, in some cases it may make sense for the defendant to plead guilty, in order to possibly avoid a more severe sentence. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help weigh the defendant's options.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Woman charged with stealing funds from Pine car dealership," Torsten Ove, Dec. 28, 2011

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