US: Former college accounting manager gets 10 years for stealing

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A former accounting manager for the University of South Florida has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing more than $12.8 million from the school.

Ralph Puglisi, 60, of Palm Harbor, was sentenced Monday in federal court in Tampa, according to court records. The judge also ordered that Puglisi repay the stolen money. He pleaded guilty to mail fraud last year.

According to court documents, Puglisi was employed as an accounting manager for the University of South Florida’s University Medical Services Association, where he oversaw credit cards.

From 2014 to 2019, Puglisi defrauded the university by using several of the association’s credit cards to make more than $12.8 million in unauthorized charges, prosecutors said.

The charges included rent payments, extensive home renovations, travel, chartered yachts and contributions to women affiliated with an interactive adult website, officials said.

Puglisi exploited his position as accounting manager to make false journal entries in records that created the illusion that his charges were related to association business operations, prosecutors said.

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