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A bookkeeper who sobbed in court that “I didn’t know what I was doing” when he embezzled $4.3 million from his brother’s Long Island, N.Y., law firm was sentenced Friday to 2 1/2 to 7 1/2 years in prison. Anthony Galasso, 54, said he had the “deepest sympathy” for his victims as he stood before Nassau County Court Judge George R. Peck in a white shirt and charcoal jacket with his arms shackled behind his back. Judge Peck was skeptical. “I don’t know whether or not you are truly contrite — but I don’t accept for one moment that you didn’t realize what you were doing,” he said. Galasso pleaded guilty in February to 22 counts of grand larceny and other crimes. As the financial record keeper of Galasso, Langione, Catterson & LoFrumento in Garden City, N.Y., where his brother, Peter, 51, is a partner, he admitted to siphoning money from various accounts, including an escrow account set up for one of its clients. There was never an allegation his brother was involved. Prosecutors said Anthony Galasso used the money on private jets to Atlantic City and other casinos, payments for a 2007 Mercedes Benz E350, and a $16,000 stay for his family at a Ritz-Carlton in New York City. He also bought $200,000 worth of concert and sporting event tickets, paid his son’s college tuition and made extensive improvements to his West Babylon, N.Y., home. Galasso faced up to 25 years in prison, but in exchange for his guilty plea, Peck promised he would not be sentenced to more than 7 1/2 years. The Nassau County District Attorney’s Office recommended that Galasso serve three to 10 years. Peck stressed Friday that the plea would not bar any civil suits brought to recover the missing money. The judge sentenced Galasso to make $2 million in restitution, to be split between the Galasso law firm and Stephen Baron, the client whose escrow account was depleted. As partial payment, Galasso signed over quitclaim deeds for two properties he has an interest in, totaling $60,000 in equity. Should Galasso “ever come up with $1,940,000, we will revisit this particular issue,” Peck told attorneys. Only the defendant was allowed to speak in court, although the judge said he had received written statements from all sides prior to sentencing. Outside of court, Peter J. Galasso said he was glad his brother was finally sentenced, after several postponements. Anthony Galasso had been jailed following the last postponement. Peter Galasso referred to the statement he had submitted to the court as an “encapsulation of our position.” In the four-page document, the attorney described his brother’s actions as a “terribly destructive satanic journey” embarked on by a man who hid “his criminal transgressions behind a duplicitous yet timid personality.” None of the stolen money has been returned, said Peter Galasso. The firm has filed civil suits against Anthony Galasso and its former accountant for the loss. Thomas F. Liotti, the Garden City attorney who represented Anthony Galasso, said his client could be eligible for work release in as little as six months. Galasso is married and has an 18-year-daughter and a 24-year-old son. His wife and other relatives were at the sentencing, but not his son and daughter. Liotti said in an interview that the sentencing was “rock-bottom” for his client, who is also recovering from cancer. “The worst is now over,” he said. In a statement, District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Galasso will “now face the consequences of living in the lap of luxury while someone else signed the bills. Hopefully he will spend his incarceration thinking of how to right the wrongs he committed against his employer, and sadly, his brother.” William Jorgensen handled the case for the district attorney.

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