U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Rhode Island
(401) 709-5000
May 27, 2015

Smithfield Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing More Than $274,000 from Her Employer to Pay Credit Card Debt

PROVIDENCE, RI—Christi Romano, aka Christi Machala, 35, of Smithfield, R.I., pleaded guilty in federal court in Providence today to stealing more than $274,000 from Christa Creations, a toy manufacturer and distributor in Smithfield where she was employed, and that she lied to the FBI during the investigation into the theft, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston Field Office of the FBI.

Romano pleaded guilty as charged in a federal indictment returned on October 15, 2014, to seven counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements.

Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., Romano admitted to the court that between February 16, 2010, and March 26, 2012, she made numerous electronic transfers totaling $274,751.06 from a bank account belonging to Christa Creations to pay her personal credit card debt.

Romano also admitted to the court that during the investigation she falsely stated to the FBI that she did not steal or misapply funds belonging to Christa Creations.

Romano is scheduled to be sentenced on August 25, 2015.

Wire fraud is punishable by statutory penalties of up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. Making false statements is punishable by statutory penalties of up to five years in federal prison.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose.

The matter was investigated by the FBI, with the assistance of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

To assist the media and the public, a glossary of federal judicial terms and procedures is available at http://www.justice.gov/usao/justice101/.

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