People Pleasing & Insatiable Gambling Leads To $13M Embezzlement

20 July 2017 Written by  Torsten Ove

A woman who carried out the single largest embezzlement scheme in western Pennsylvania history did it in part because she is addicted to gambling, her lawyer said.

Cynthia Mills, 56, who admitted to stealing almost $13 million from her employer, Matthews International on the North Shore, is set to be sentenced on July 28 in U.S. District Court.

Her lawyer, Phillip DiLucente, has repeatedly declined to comment on her case but said in a pre-sentence filing that his client's gambling problem largely motivated her thefts over 16 years at the company.

The former cashier and treasury specialist at Matthews' Bronze Division, she now works as a server at a bar in Canonsburg after publicity over the case cost her several other jobs.

"Ms. Mills' desire to please her estranged husband and her insatiable appetite for gambling was a very large part of her reasoning for stealing the almost 13 million dollars from her employer," Mr. DiLucente said. "While she recognizes this is not an acceptable excuse, she is hopeful that she can receive treatment while incarcerated for this addiction, so as not to be plagued by this horrible condition when released from prison."

He asked U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer to impose the sentence agreed upon by his client and the government in a plea deal, which calls for 7-½ years in prison. He also asked that she be allowed to self-report, since she has no criminal record and is not a risk to flee.

Ms. Mills' estranged husband, Gary Mills, is also under indictment on federal tax charges in connection with the embezzlement scheme. His case is pending.

The two separated last year after 22 years of marriage.

Ms. Mills waived indictment in March and will have to pay $12.9 million in restitution to Matthews.

The U.S. attorney's office also seized the couple's yacht, cars, real estate, jewelry and other items that the couple bought with the stolen money. In addition to spending on luxuries, Ms. Mills gambled heavily in Las Vegas and Atlantic City as well as at the Rivers Casino and the Meadows Racetrack and Casino in the Pittsburgh region.

Mr. DiLucente asked the judge to take into consideration the fact that his client has admitted her crimes and cooperated with the investigation. He said she is also dealing with several health issues and is responsible for checking on her elderly father in an assisted-living facility.

Her theft ranks as the largest embezzlement by one individual ever prosecuted in the western district of Pennsylvania, which comprises 25 counties.

Prosecutors say Ms. Mills siphoned off the money from Matthews systematically and moved the funds into a bank account for a fake company she created called Creative Designs.

She then doctored Matthews' invoices and bank statements to cover her tracks from internal controls and from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Matthews' outside auditors.

Content Originally Published By: Torsten Ove @ The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


A gambling addiction is a serious problem, but help is available. Click the link below to learn more.

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