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Former Archdiocese Of Philadelphia CFO Charged With Embezzling $900K

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By Mark Abrams and Walt Hunter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The former chief financial officer of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been charged with stealing nearly a million dollars from the church’s general operating fund over a nearly six-year period.

Forty-two-year-old Anita Guzzardi of Haddon Heights, Camden County, surrendered to detectives from the district attorney’s office Tuesday and was charged with several offenses including fraud, theft and unlawful use of a computer.

Tasha Jamerson, spokeswoman for District Attorney Seth Williams said, “Those charges come from an investigation by our office that determined that she had taken in excess of over $900,000 from the archdiocese during the time of 2005 until summer of 2011.”

Jamerson says the DA’s fraud unit was tipped off by American Express about what they deemed suspicious activity in Guzzardi’s personal accounts. She said investigators found Guzzardi had submitted 184 checks drafted by the archdiocese to pay for her personal expenses.

After being notified by the DA’s office, the archdiocese says it began an internal forensic audit and fired Guzzardi July 22, 2011.

Investigators also found she used 146 archdiocesan checks to pay off another credit card.

The archdiocese says Guzzardi had held a number of financial positions since being hired in 1989 and had just been appointed to the CFO position only three weeks before she was let go.

Only CBS3 was there when Guzzardi was released from jail after paying her own bail. She did not respond to questions at that time.