The former office manager of a Pittsburgh bankruptcy boutique who is the son of one of the name partners has been sentenced to 21 months in jail for stealing over $800,000 from the firm.
Anthony Calaiaro had been office manager for Calaiaro Valencik, a two-lawyer debtor-side firm serving clients throughout Western Pennsylvania, according to its website. His father, Donald Calaiaro, is president of the firm and has been practicing since 1978, the website says.
According to a federal indictment, Anthony Calaiaro used his access to write a total of $827,020 worth of checks, payable to himself, from June 2014 to April 2016, out of the law firm’s business account. The checks included false descriptions such as “expense reimbursement,” “collection distribution” and “bonus,” the indictment said.
In addition to jail time, he was also sentenced on Aug. 1 to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $827,020 in restitution.
Anthony Calaiaro was severely addicted to opioid painkillers during the period when he was writing false checks, a sentencing memo filed by his lawyer, public defender Linda Cohn, said.
“The money he unlawfully took in this case was used to support his drug addiction and a gambling problem,” the sentencing memo said.
He also took money from the firm’s IOLTA account to deposit into the firm’s business account, the indictment said, and he made false entries in the firm’s check register to falsely show that the checks to himself had been used to pay legitimate vendors.
Anthony Calaiaro admitted to embezzling the money when contacted by the FBI about the investigation, his sentencing memo said. “Initially, Mr. Calaiaro was stunned that the amount had grown so high, but he took full responsibility for the loss,” the memo said.
Calaiaro was charged with bank fraud in January 2017. He originally pleaded not guilty but changed to a guilty plea in February this year.
Among Donald Calaiaro’s former clients is Abigale Lee Miller, a Pittsburgh-area woman who starred in the reality show “Dance Moms” and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2010. Miller was later indicted for concealing income from the reality show in her bankruptcy proceedings, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year in prison. Press reports said that during Miller’s criminal proceedings, Donald Calaiaro testified that he was not aware of the television income until it suddenly appeared in her accounts.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Karl prosecuted the case against Anthony Calaiaro.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Scott Brady acknowledged the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police for their investigation.
Cohn, Anthony Calaiaro’s attorney, did not respond to a request for comment Friday.