January 24, 2013
The court case for a Delaware Township official accused of stealing tax money is wrapping up.
Delaware Township Fiscal Officer Phyllis Amato, 60, appeared in court briefly on Friday. Amato, who is facing two felony charges of theft in office, was set to enter a no contest plea, said her attorney, Logan Phillips.
A no contest plea means that the defendant doesn’t admit guilt, but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction.
But Common Pleas Judge W. Duncan Whitney ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be completed first. The judge set a court hearing for 11:15 a.m. on Nov. 30, when Amato will enter her plea and be sentenced. She faces up to 30 months in prison.
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 last month 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.