Toy Manufacturer Employee Indicted, Arraigned on Federal Fraud Charges
PROVIDENCE, RI—Christi Romano, aka Christi Machala, 35, of Smithfield, R.I., was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Providence today on a federal indictment which alleges that she stole more than $274,000 from a toy manufacturer and distributor in Smithfield where she was employed, and that she allegedly lied to the FBI during an 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.
A federal indictment returned on October 15, 2014, charges Romano with seven counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements.
The indictment alleges that on at least seven occasions between February 16, 2010, and March 26, 2012, Romano transferred $274,751.06 from bank accounts belonging to Chrisha Creations, a toy manufacturing and distribution business located in Smithfield, R.I., to pay personal credit card debt. The indictment also alleges that Romano made false statements to the FBI, by falsely stating to the FBI that she did not steal or misapply funds belonging to Chrisha Creations.
Appearing for arraignment today before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan, a not guilty plea was entered on Romano’s behalf. Romano was released on $10,000 unsecured bond.
An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Wire fraud is punishable by a statutory penalty of up to 30 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. Making false statements is punishable by a statutory penalty 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/.