A former financial executive of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $900,000 from the church.

Forty-two-year-old Anita Guzzardi of Haddon Heights, N.J. pleaded guilty to charges of theft by deception, unlawful use of a computer and forgery.

Prosecutors say Guzzardi used hundreds of church checks to pay personal credit card bills from 2005 to 2011. The investigation began after American Express contacted authorities.

Guzzardi had worked for the Philadelphia Archdiocese since 1989 and had just been promoted to chief financial officer at the time of her arrest.

Defense attorney Louis Busico said Monday that his client "always acknowledged wrongdoing" and "has been diligently working to make amends." Prosecutors said they recovered more than $250,000 from her.

Guzzardi's sentencing was scheduled for Aug. 24. Busico said sentencing guidelines call for a few months of incarceration.

 

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