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Joanne Rocca gets probation for stealing from employer, DA says

Joanne Rocca, 68, of Merrick, was sentenced Thursday,

Joanne Rocca, 68, of Merrick, was sentenced Thursday, June 12, 2014, to 5 years of probation for stealing more than $450,000 from her employer. She is seen here in a file photo from May 8, 2013. Credit: NCDA

A bookkeeper from Merrick who pleaded guilty to grand larceny after she used company money to pay her household bills was sentenced Thursday to 5 years' probation for stealing more than $450,000 from her employer.

Joanne Rocca, 68, who worked at a building maintenance and real estate firm in Plainview, spent four months in jail while the charges were pending and has so far made $292,000 in restitution, prosecutors said.

She entered her plea Feb. 6 in Nassau County Court in Mineola.

She will have to repay $164,432.88 more under the terms of the sentence imposed Thursday by Judge Christopher Quinn at the Nassau courthouse.

"I am pleased that the company that had its trust violated repeatedly has gotten much of its money back, and that this defendant has been held accountable for her crimes," Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement after the sentencing.

The bookkeeper stole the money between July 2004 and April 2011 by arranging automatic payments from company accounts and by forging the owner's signature on company checks, prosecutors said.

The company became aware of the theft in May 2011 when Rocca went to lunch and left a company check on her desk made out to her personal American Express account. A company audit later found the extent of the theft, and Rocca was arrested on grand larceny charges in May 2013.

Her attorney at the time, Anthony LaPinta of Hauppauge, described Rocca as "a loving mother and devoted wife who has the full support of her family and friends."

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