Heather Jo O’Leary to repay US$67k taken from US yacht brokerage

A former employee of Galati Yacht Sales will serve five years probation, provide 100 hours of community service, and will repay the US$67,927.37 she embezzled from the Florida-based yacht brokerage.

40-year-old Heather Jo O’Leary also agreed, as part of her plea, that she will not be permitted to work in any bookkeeping or accounting job without first disclosing her criminal history to that potential employer and then seeking permission from her probation officer.

O’Leary resigned from the company last July when an internal audit revealed checks were not being applied to accounts and she was questioned by Human Resources director Fran Galati.

She was arrested last month, but quickly changed her plea on Wednesday, admitting to one felony count of scheming to defraud, according to coverage in the Bradenton Herald.

As part of her scheme to defraud, O’Leary would prepare deposit slips at Galati but they were altered before deposits were made at the bank. Checks would not be applied to customer accounts accurately in order to balance out the cash shortage. There was also money discovered missing from register payouts.

While police were unable to trace the cash, O’Leary was the only employee who handled deposits and registered payouts. As part of their investigation, detectives also had Galati run audits for the days in which O’Leary had taken paid time off, and found that no money was missing on those days.

“Our biggest concern was that she didn’t do this to anyone else in our community,” Fran Galati told the newspaper outside the courthouse following the hearing.

O’Leary embezzled money from the Wildwood Condo Association during her employment from 2012 to 2013 by giving herself periodic pay raises, but the association never reported the incident to police.

The multi-state, family-run Galati Yacht Sales celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.