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Former clerk accused of stealing $16,000



Published: Sat, January 15, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The store paid for 36 refunds that had not been requested by customers, a detective said.

BOARDMAN -- A Struthers woman was charged with stealing more than $16,000 from Goldstein's Furniture since September, police said.

Janine Neapolitani, 26, of 8th Street, was arrested Thursday on a theft charge, accused of taking $16,325, said Boardman Detective Jim Briganti.

Neapolitani, who was a clerk at Goldstein's, has denied any wrongdoing, Briganti said. She was released Thursday after posting $4,000 bond.

Suspicious activity

Briganti said he got a call from Goldstein's officials, who became suspicious about some recent returns of furniture.

Store officials began calling customers and learned that in 36 different instances, refunds that had been processed at the store had never actually been requested by the customers, who all still had their furniture.

"They [Goldstein's] did a lot of work on their own," Briganti said.

"It was like shooting fish in a barrel."

Armed with the information from Goldstein's, Briganti got bank account and other records and confirmed what store officials suspected.

Here's what happened, according to Briganti:

As a clerk who would handle refunds for returned furniture, Neapolitani wrote up a total of 36 fraudulent refunds dating back to Sept. 3.

"The names were of real customers with real accounts, but she was using the refund to credit her own bank account," Briganti said.

Briganti said he confirmed that Neapolitani wrote up the refunds in each of the cases, and that the money was indeed credited to her personal bank account, for which she is the sole account holder.

"She's saying somebody used her bank card," Briganti said. "She's denying she had any involvement in this."




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