Former Toledo woman charged with stealing $300,000 from Sylvania firm

David Patch - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (TNS)

A former Toledo resident accused of embezzling more than $300,000 from an electrical contractor in Sylvania was arraigned Friday morning in federal court on 10 fraud-related charges.

Traci Ann Grillo, 47, faces nine counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, for which Jody King, an assistant U.S. attorney, said she could be sentenced to up to 32 years in federal prison and be assessed a $250,000 fine, although sentencing guidelines would indicate between 65 and 75 months’ imprisonment.

Ms. Grillo pleaded not guilty Friday before U.S. District Magistrate Judge James Knepp II, who set a $10,000 unsecured bond and ordered her not to leave the country while the case is pending. She is next scheduled for a pre-trial conference before Judge Jack Zouhary on Oct. 4.

According to the indictment handed up Aug. 8 by a federal grand jury, Ms. Grillo worked as a bookkeeper for King Electrical from September, 2014 until March, 2019. During that time she issued excessive salary checks to herself, used King Electrical checks and credit cards for personal purchases, and misappropriated funds withheld from other employees’ payroll deductions, the indictment states.

She also is accused of fraudulently obtaining high-interest loans under the name of a victim identified as J.K. “for her own benefit and enrichment and to conceal unauthorized personal use of company funds.” The identity-theft charge relates to her use of J.K.’s personal information to obtain the loans.

During the court proceeding Friday morning, it was stated that Ms. Grillo now lives in Michigan, although during the time of her employment at King she was a Toledo resident.

Eight of the nine wire-fraud counts refer to transactions related to the loans. But according to the indictment, Ms. Grillo used King funds or accounts to buy clothing from, write checks to her children, pay a son’s tuition at Kent State University, deposit into an online gambling account, and buy airline tickets for relatives.

Ms. King said the identity-theft charge carries a mandatory two-year sentence that, after conviction, must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed pursuant to the case.

David Patch

The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (TNS)

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