September 10, 2012

The former chief financial officer of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will spend the next two to seven years in state prison for embezzling more than $900,000 from the Church over seven years.

Anita Guzzardi, 44, was convicted of third-degree felony of theft by deception.

Guzzardi will also serve seven years’ probation on two other convictions, forgery and unlawful use of a computer.

She had pleaded guilty to the three charges July 29.

Assistant District Attorney Lisa Caulfield described what she called the “lavish lifestyle” Guzzardi fueled through funds she embezzled in her work as a trusted senior financial officer of the archdiocese.

Beginning in late 2004, Caulfield said, Guzzardi began to write archdiocesan cheques to cover her expenses on her American Express credit card.

Those expenses included frequent business trips in which she included family and friends, plus vacations to Hawaii, Las Vegas, the Bahamas and other locales, together with shopping sprees for clothes, gifts and flowers for herself, family and friends.