Cheektowaga woman sentenced for stealing from employer

Aug 9, 2016

A Cheektowaga woman has been sentenced for stealing nearly a half-million dollars from her former employer.

The Erie County District Attorney's Office says 61-year old Bernadette Szymanski has been sentenced to 1-2/3 to 5 years in prison for stealing from FPPF Chemical Co. in Buffalo, where she worked as its controller for nearly 25 years. In May, Szymanski pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the second degree for the theft. She also pleaded guilty to offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree for not paying state taxes on the money she stole.

The DA says Szymanski worked for FPPF from 1991-2015 as its controller. Beginning in January of 2002 and continuing until her termination on November 15, 2015, she stole $491,893 by committing payroll fraud and making unauthorized personal purchases on the company’s American Express credit card.

The theft came to light when Szymanski became embroiled in a dispute with the owner about compensation for bereavement leave, prompting the owner to look into whether she compensated herself beyond the company’s policy.

The DA says she has paid $80,000 toward restitution and will have to continue making payments to her employer’s insurance company after being released from prison.