PHILADELPHIA (AP) — One of Philadelphia’s top mummers has been charged with stealing nearly half a million dollars from two of his employers.

John Pignotti (pin-YAHT-ee) was president of the String Band Association until February. He was also a branch manager at two security firms, where he had authority to approve invoices and write paychecks.

Federal prosecutors say he wrote more than 100-thousand dollars in fraudulent paychecks, using the identity of real security guards employed by one firm, where he worked from 2001 to 2008.

Authorities say Pignotti went to work for a second firm in 2008 and stole more than 300-thousand dollars by sending false invoices and writing checks that he, himself, then cashed.

Pignotti is charged with mail fraud and identity theft.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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