Embezzlement charges bound for Circuit Court

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — A business owner recalled Beth Chirillo saying, “I’m so sorry,” after he fired her for suspected embezzlement.

Chirillo was bound over to Wayne County Circuit Court on felony embezzlement charges following a preliminary examination held Wednesday before 23rd District Court Judge William J. Sutherland. Chirillo allegedly stole more than $200,000 from her employer through fraudulent salary and use of office equipment.

John Kurc, president of J&J Digital Solutions, testified that he hired Chirillo in November 2007, an early employee of the small company he started in March 2006. Based in Taylor at the time, J&J Digital Solutions specializes in sales and service of photocopying machines.

Chirillo’s title was human resources, and Kurc said she had, “various other tasks, a lot of us wore different hats.”

Among Chirillo’s duties was to process the company payroll, which was processed through a third-party payroll firm, and administered staff cell phone accounts.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Capling entered several reports as evidence, demonstrating that Chirillo received an annual salary of $41,600; at first the company paid weekly before switching to bi-weekly paydays, upon which she received $1,600 every two weeks.

Discrepancies began appearing in November 2009, when Chirillo processed two paychecks of $1,000 more than the weekly $800 rate. Additional overpayments continued for more than 18 months; prosecutors said that in 2010 she received $118,570 more than her agreed-upon salary, and an additional $59,300 in 2011.

Kurc also testified that Chirillo made use of three cellular phones paid for by the company, one she was allowed and two others allegedly used by her family for private use. Chirillo is married to a Southgate police officer.

Chirillo was not, Kurc clarified, a sales employee entitled to commissions on contracts.

After discovering the overpayments in June 2011, Kurc said he confronted Chirillo in her office.

“I asked her to explain this,” Kurc said, a question met with silence. “It was uncomfortable,” and he finally told her she had to leave.
“She asked if she could keep her cell phone,” Kurc testified. Told no, Kurc said Chirillo said she was sorry before leaving.

Defense attorney Loren Dickstein asked few questions of Kurc before Sutherland advanced the matter; an arraignment on information is scheduled for June 13 in Wayne County Circuit Court. Dickstein asked Kurc if there was a written account of Chirillo’s job description, terms of employment or contract. Kurc said there was not.

Chirillo is chargd with one count of felony embezzlement of $100,000 or more, and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, and a fine of $50,000 or three times the amount embezzled, whichever is greater.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)