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Sept. 12, 2021, 10:25 a.m. EDT

‘The theft was fatal’: Employee used 189 credit-card refunds to embezzle nearly $200,000 — bankrupting packaging firm

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By Lukas I. Alpert

There is no such thing as a victimless crime.

The trusted controller of a family-run Pennsylvania packaging firm has been sentenced to two years in prison for stealing nearly $200,000 from the company’s coffers, sending it into bankruptcy and all its workers to the unemployment line.

Victoria Mazur, 54, of Pittsburgh, had worked for the Gateway Packaging Corp. from 2012 until 2017, during which she secretly pocketed $195,000 of company funds, federal prosecutors said.

She managed to make off with the cash by issuing herself and her husband 189 different credit-card refunds over the years, which she steered into her bank account, prosecutors said. Mazur then provided the company’s owners with false financial statements to conceal her crime, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said the fraud was so extensive that it forced the Export, Penn. company out of business, resulting in the loss of jobs for 25 people.

“For a small company, the theft was fatal,” Lee Karl, assistant U.S. attorney for the western district of Pennsylvania, wrote in a sentencing report.

“What Victoria Mazur did is unforgivable. I thought I would retire from Gateway Packaging, instead at 55 years old I had to start with a new company. And I was lucky, many of my coworkers ended up at the unemployment office. All of us have paid the price both financially and emotionally,” long-time employee Lisa Capozzi wrote in a victim’s impact statement.

Mazur’s attorney didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

Prosecutors said Mazur had a prior conviction for embezzlement and additional arrests for writing bad checks.

Anne Marie Getty, the wife of Gateway’s general manager, Scott Getty, wrote that the family made a mistake in trusting Mazur.

“It wasn’t a one time theft or lie, it was years of seeing how much she could do and get. To be a confidant to my husband, and then turn around and steal, shows she has no remorse,” Getty wrote.

Mazur was also ordered to pay $195,000 in restitution.

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