Risk Management

Bookkeeper Gets Shockingly Long Prison Term

Her theft of $600,000 brings a sentence of 15 years — 9 more than Enron's Andy Fastow got.
Stephen TaubDecember 14, 2007

A former bookkeeper for a Florida accounting firm was sentenced to 15 years in prison after admitting to stealing more than $600,000 from a client, The Palm Beach Post reported.

Glenda Mancil tearfully told Judge Dwight Geiger she was addicted to taking up to $20,000 at a time and was afraid her boyfriend would leave her if she didn’t give him spending money, according to the report.

“I got into a vicious cycle I couldn’t get out of,” Mancil reportedly told the judge. “He would spend money, and I would take more money because I didn’t want to lose him.”

Mancil had pleaded guilty to first-degree grand theft for stealing checks from a seafood wholesaler that was one of her clients at DiBartolomeo, McBee, Hartley and Barnes, according to the paper.

Mancil asked Geiger to keep her out of prison so she could work to repay the money. The plea was ignored, and in fact, the sentence seems way out of whack with recent high-profile cases involving much larger sums of money.

Of course, it is not uncommon for people who cooperate with prosecutors to get less jail time if they are convicted at trial. Still, consider that former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow was sentenced to 6 years in prison, 4 less than the 10 years he agreed to under a prior plea deal for his role in the fraud that plunged the onetime energy giant into bankruptcy.

Also, former WorldCom CFO Scott Sullivan was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of probation for his role in the telecom company’s $11 billion accounting fraud., and HealthSouth CFO Michael Martin got 36 months in prison for his role in the company’s $2.7 billion accounting scandal.

Ira Zar, former CFO of CA, received just seven months in prison and seven months of home detention, even though a federal judge said he played a key role in the software company’s $2.2 billion accounting fraud.