hot-topic right[Update: This case was ordered expunged by Judge Honora O’Brien Kilgallen on June 6, 2019.]

A former employee of Red Bank-based Ansorge Unlimited pleaded guilty Thursday to defrauding the advertising and publishing firm of $403,000, the Monmouth County Prosecutor announced today.

As part of a plea bargain, Rebecca Cirillo, 34, of Atlantic Highlands, admitted embezzling the funds from the publisher of Red Bank Red Hot magazine over the course of more than two years. She also pleaded guilty filing a fraudulent tax return.

Prosecutors are asking that Cirillo get five years in prison when sentenced in January by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English.

From the press release:

In May 2008, the owner of Ansorge Unlimited, Inc., reported to the Monmouth
County Prosecutor’s Office that a significant sum of money had been diverted from her
company via an internal theft. An investigation and financial audit conducted by the
Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office revealed that between July 2005 and November
2007, hundreds of thousands of dollars had been illegally taken from the Ansorge
Unlimited bank account. The investigation further revealed that Cirillo, the bookkeeper
employed at the company during those years, had written hundreds of checks to herself
from the Ansorge Unlimited account. Cirillo was hired as a part-time bookkeeper in July
2005 and the investigation disclosed that she immediately began utilizing the company’s
accounting system at that time to unlawfully and without authorization divert funds. After
Cirillo was fired in November 2007, the Ansorge Unlimited, Inc., began an internal audit of
its financial records and discovered the theft. The financial audit which was conducted by
the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office revealed that Cirillo had issued 325 company
checks in her married and/or maiden name or to cash. The total value of the checks taken
by Cirillo was determined to be approximately $573,868.94. After deductions from that
amount were taken for payroll, legitimate expenditures and checks containing insufficient
funds, the total amount of the theft was determined to be $403,048.57.

An analysis of Cirillo’s personal banking records indicated that a majority of the
checks were deposited directly into Cirillo’s personal bank accounts. The remaining
checks were cashed at a local bank.

An investigation into this matter was also conducted by the New Jersey Division of
Taxation, Office of Criminal Investigation. That investigation revealed that Cirillo
willfully failed to pay the appropriate State income tax for 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Cirillo was arrested and charged on February 11, 2009, at which time she was
released on her own recognizance.

Cirillo entered her guilty plea in accordance with a negotiated plea agreement with
the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. In accordance with the terms of Cirillo’s
negotiated plea agreement the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office will recommend that
Judge English sentence Cirillo to a five year State Prison term on the Theft by Deception
charge. The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office will recommend that Judge English
sentence Cirillo to two three year State Prison terms on the tax charges, to be served
concurrently to the sentence imposed on the Theft charge. The Monmouth County
Prosecutor’s Office will also recommend that Cirillo be required to file amended State tax
returns for 2005, 2006 and 2007, and that Cirillo enter into a civil consent judgment in
favor of Ansorge Unlimited, Inc., and CNA Insurance Company in the amount of
$290,949.12. The terms of the negotiated plea agreement were approved by Ansorge
Unlimited, Inc., prior to the entry of the negotiated guilty plea.

Cirillo is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge English on January 14, 2011.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis A. Valentin stated, “The period of incarceration
included in the plea agreement in this matter is necessary to deter this defendant and
others from committing this type of economic crime. The magnitude of the theft by this
defendant, a previously trusted employee, had a significant detrimental effect upon the
victim and her company.”

This case is assigned to Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Nicole Colucci.
Cirillo is represented by Vincent Sarubbi, Esquire, of Haddonfield, N.J.