Defendant allegedly embezzled over $180,000 from interior design firm

BOSTON – A former bookkeeper for a Lexington interior design firm was arrested today on charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection an alleged scheme to embezzle over $180,000.

Christina Iannelli, 49, of Sudbury, was indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Iannelli was released on conditions following an initial appearance this morning in federal court in Boston.

According to the indictment, Iannelli was an independent contractor for an interior design firm based in Lexington. Beginning in or about October 2018, Iannelli allegedly prepared dozens of fraudulent invoices with inflated totals derived from inaccurate math, and then issued herself checks for the inflated amounts due from the firm’s checking account. It is also alleged that, beginning in or about July 2019, Iannelli issued herself dozens of additional unauthorized checks. In both instances, Iannelli allegedly used a signature stamp in the name of the firm’s owner to issue the fraudulent checks.

To conceal the fraudulent payments, it is alleged that Iannelli made false entries in the firm’s accounting records. In total, Iannelli allegedly embezzled over $30,000 through inflated compensation checks and over $150,000 through additional unauthorized checks.

The charge of bank fraud provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater. The charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in prison, up to one year of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and Lexington Police Chief Michael McLean made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Sudbury Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney James R. Drabick of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.