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Ex-CFO sentenced for stealing nearly $1 million from alarm company

Pietro gets two concurrent 6-year sentences, 94 years in suspended sentences

March 29, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Curtis Philip Pietro and his wife, Sarah, walk out of the Washington County Courthouse on Tuesday after his sentencing hearing.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

The former chief financial officer of a Hagerstown alarm company, convicted of stealing almost $1 million from the business, was sentenced Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court to 100 years in prison, with the judge suspending all but six years.

“Nobody is going to like my sentence ... and quite frankly, I don’t like it,” Judge W. Kennedy Boone III said at the conclusion of the nearly two-hour sentencing hearing for Curtis Philip Pietro.

Boone gave him two concurrent six-year sentences on two counts of felony theft scheme of more than $500, and 94 years in suspended sentences for 10 counts of forgery and uttering to run consecutively with the prison sentence.

Boone gave Pietro until April 4 to “settle your affairs” and report for his sentence. Upon his release from prison, Pietro will be on supervised probation for five years for the purpose of making payments toward the $784,753.38 in restitution still owed to his former employer, Glessner Alarm & Communications.

“It is probably something I will never forgive myself for,” Pietro, 51, of 11901 Greenhill Drive, said of the thefts. He said he and his wife have lost everything.

“The stuff that you accumulate means absolutely nothing,” Pietro said before sentencing. As for the possibility of a prison sentence, he said, “If they want to crucify me, put me in jail.”

Pietro pleaded guilty to the charges on Dec. 20, 2010, and sentencing was deferred until Tuesday. At the time of the plea, Deputy State’s Attorney Joseph Michael said the state was seeking a sentence in the range of five to 15 years, with the final term dependent on Pietro’s efforts to make restitution.

On Tuesday, Michael said Pietro had paid about $155,000 in restitution on $939,801.34 in money stolen from Glessner between 2004 and 2010, but had not paid any restitution since Nov. 30, 2010.

“There’s been a lot of promises and not a dime paid since then,” said Michael, who asked Boone to impose a prison sentence of 12 years.

“Twelve years in the Department of Corrections is not an appropriate sentence” for a first-time offender, defense attorney D. Benson Thompson III said.

Pietro cannot make restitution from prison, said Thompson, who asked Boone to impose a sentence of five years on home detention. Pietro has been on home detention since posting bond in October and is working for a company from his in-laws’ home, Thompson said.

The criminal case resulted in Pietro losing two other jobs he had since being fired by Glessner; the loss of his certified public accountant and real estate licenses; 35 days in jail; and five months on home detention, Thompson said.

And because of civil litigation, Pietro was unable to close a deal on the sale of his house and has had to pay additional legal fees instead of restitution, he said.

Pietro was employed by Glessner for 24 years. When the economy began to falter a few years ago, the company cut officers’ salaries by 20 percent, eliminated matching 401k contributions, laid off workers and reduced overtime and other costs at Pietro’s suggestion, said Neal Glessner, president of Glessner Alarm & Communications.

During that time, “he was stealing tens of thousands of dollars so he could live like a rock star,” Glessner said.

The full extent of the money taken from the business was not known until after the Dec. 20 plea, he said.

Glessner told Boone he wanted to see Pietro serve a sentence longer than the 12 years Michael was recommending.

Pietro lived “an extravagant lifestyle” that included trips to Paris, the Virgin Islands and other locales, as well as buying a house, jewelry and other expensive purchases, Michael said.

“Mr. Pietro was very generous, no doubt, with other people’s money,” Michael said.

When the plea was entered in December, Michael said Pietro had been paying himself twice, writing himself a regular check and then forging another. He was also funneling money into a credit card account and using it as a “slush fund,” Michael said.

Pietro said his actions hurt Glessner Alarm & Communications, “but they are still able to be successful.”

Pietro’s wife and ex-wife asked Boone for leniency so he could support his three children.

“Since we purged ourselves of Curtis last June, we are a much stronger company ... and things are almost back to normal,” Glessner said.

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