Former Bookkeeper Indicted for Stealing More Than $1 Million From West Springfield Company
Allegedly Paid Personal Credit Card Bills with Company Money, Manipulated Books to Conceal Theft
SPRINGFIELD – A former bookkeeper has been indicted in connection with stealing more than $1 million from a West Springfield company and for manipulating the corporate books to conceal his theft, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced today.
Jeffrey Cinelli, age 50, of Montgomery, was indicted today by a Hampden County Grand Jury on charges of Larceny over $250 (5 counts) and False Entry in Corporate Books (4 counts). He will be arraigned in Hampden Superior Court March 14.
“We allege this defendant abused his position of trust within a company and stole over $1 million for his own personal benefit,” AG Coakley said. “He allegedly funneled the money from the company’s accounts to pay his personal credit card bills and manipulated the corporate books to disguise his actions.”
The AG’s Office began an investigation in August 2012 after the matter was referred by the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office. Cinelli worked as an accounts payable bookkeeper for Massachusetts Fire Technologies, Inc. (MFT) of West Springfield. The former owner of MFT suspected the larceny after an audit and reported it to the West Springfield Police Department.
Authorities allege that between January 2006 and May 2009, Cinelli stole more than a million dollars from MFT by hiding the larcenies within the company’s accounting line item “material expenditure” or, the amount that the company spent on materials.
The investigation revealed that Cinelli’s alleged scheme was to mirror MFT’s billing practices by making the required payments from the MFT bank account to the company’s credit card company and forwarding a nearly identical payment to his own credit card. He would then allegedly lump in both the legitimate MFT payments and those to his personal accounts under the category “material expenditure.” In addition, authorities allege that Cinelli took numerous cash advances on one of his personal credit cards, which were then repaid with MFT funds.
These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Beth A. Lux of AG Coakley’s Western Massachusetts Regional Office with assistance from Investigators Marco DePalma and Stephen Bethoney from the AG’s Financial Investigations Division, Paralegal Sharon Coles, Victim Advocate Amber Foley, and State Police assigned to the AG’s Office.