Employee Charged With Stealing Almost $100k From Law Firm

By: Tyler Murphy

NORWICH – A legal assistant at a Norwich law firm was indicted on eight felony charges last week involving the fraud, forgery and theft of nearly $100,000.

Andrea B. Pertilla allegedly stole about $96,400 from her employer the Vitanza & Distefano law firm, forging her boss' name on checks and then altering paperwork to cover it up.

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According to information presented to a Chenango County grand jury by the Chenango County District Attorney's Office, Pertilla stole $88,250 in currency from the business between October 2016 and April 2019. She also allegedly cashed several checks after forging her employer's name on them.

Assistant District Attorney James Snashall said the allegations in the case followed a pattern he has seen before when working in Staten Island and Broom County.

“It's a classic bookkeeper-slash-office assistant betraying the trust of her employer and that employer happens to be a prominent local attorney,” he said.

“These cases tend to involve a bookkeeper or assistant having access and control of financial documents. It involves the owner placing trust in that employee to act accordingly and look out for the business interests, and then that employ betrays that trust,” said Snashall.

Pertilla is charged with second degree grand larceny, a C felony; six counts of second degree forgery, a D felony; and first degree falsifying business records, an E felony.

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