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September 12, 2012

Staff reports

The former Delaware Township fiscal officer will serve jail time for stealing tax money while in office.

Phyllis Amato, 60, was in court this week and pleaded guilty to complicity to theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. Delaware County Common Pleas Judge W. Duncan Whitney sentenced Amato to two years community control (probation), 10 days in jail and a $500 fine.

She previously faced two felony charges of theft in office and entered a no contest plea, according to previous Gazette reports. A no contest plea means that the defendant doesn’t admit guilt, but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction.

Amato is accused of paying her son, Anthony Amato, a former part-time township maintenance worker, for full-time work when he was only a part-time employee. Prosecutors also allege Amato helped conceal her son’s fraudulent use of a township credit card. She has denied wrongdoing.

While she has resisted calls to resign from office, Amato is not running for re-election this coming November.

Anthony Amato, 34, was sentenced to nine months in jail earlier this year after he pleaded guilty to a single felony theft charge. He admitted he stole about $4,400 from the township between November 2009 and May 2010, including using township funds to buy himself a computer, clothes and other personal articles.

At a September court hearing, Anthony Amato said his mother directed him to use the township credit card to buy office supplies and have them shipped to her house.