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Hagerstown man who stole hundreds of thousands from employer asks for sentence reduction

Judge Daniel P. Dwyer to consider whether to modify Curtis Philip Pietro's sentence

December 13, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Curtis Pietro
Curtis Pietro

A Hagerstown man serving a six-year prison term for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from his employer asked a Washington County Circuit Court judge Tuesday to reduce his sentence.

In March, circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III sentenced Curtis Philip Pietro, 53, to 100 years, with 94 years suspended.

Pietro had pleaded guilty in December 2010 to felony theft scheme charges, as well as forgery and uttering charges for embezzling more than $800,000 from Glessner Alarm & Communications over a period of more than four years while serving as its chief financial officer.

Having served a total of about 15 months in the county detention center, home detention and state prison since his arrest in September 2010, Pietro appeared before Judge Daniel P. Dwyer Tuesday with his defense attorney, D. Benson Thompson III, who asked that his client's sentence be modified to time served or a period of home detention.

"I'm not convinced the sentence originally imposed by Judge Boone was inappropriate," Dwyer said.

However, after initially denying the modification request, Dwyer said he was taking it under consideration.

Benson said after the hearing that the judge's ruling did not preclude another request for modification in the future.

Since he was charged and convicted, Pietro has lost his certified public accountant and real estate licenses, his home, a $102,000-a-year job he held after being fired from Glessner, as well as his freedom, Thompson told Dwyer.

"We all know he has a lot of money to pay back after his release," said Thompson, who noted that Pietro would have a job paying about $50,000 a year if he is released and can better support his family, and make restitution to Glessner.

"This is a white-collar crime," but Pietro has been incarcerated with murderers, rapists and other violent criminals, Thompson said.

"He is rehabilitated" and no threat to public safety, Thompson said.

"In the words of Woody Guthrie, 'Some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen,'" Deputy State's Attorney Joseph Michael told Dwyer.

Pietro had been writing himself duplicate paychecks and set up an account known only to him for four or five years to steal between $800,000 and $900,000 from his employer, Michael said.

"He was living extremely high off the hog," Michael said, with trips to Paris and the Virgin Islands, and a large home. At the same time, officers and employees at Glessner were experiencing reductions in pay and benefits, and, in some cases, being laid off, he said.

"On recommendations from Mr. Pietro," Glessner President Neal Glessner said out loud while sitting in the courtroom, referring to the layoffs.

The prosecution had asked for a 12-year prison sentence for Pietro back in March and would have asked for less time had he paid substantially more in restitution, Michael told Dwyer.

Pietro is eligible for parole in April 2012, and his mandatory release date is currently in September 2014, he said.

Brian Kane, an attorney representing the Glessner business and family in civil matters involving Pietro, told Dwyer the company had to bear much of the cost of conducting audits to trace the missing money and trying to find if there are "caches of ill-gotten gains" yet to be found.

Pietro has been credited with paying about $154,000 in restitution, Thompson said.

"I just hope you can see the person I am now," rather than the person he was before, Pietro told Dwyer.

As for hidden funds, Pietro said: "There's no more money, so Mr. Kane doesn't need to look in any more holes."

Pietro also said he did not believe any Glessner employees "lost their jobs because of my actions."

"I just want to have a life with my family," Pietro said.

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