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AFTRA funds embezzler pleads guilty

Theft was discovered earlier this year by indie auditors

HOLLYWOOD — The former finance director of AFTRA’s Health and Retirement Funds has pled guilty to embezzling $1.36 million from the funds and will be sentenced Dec. 15.

The funds said the embezzlement was discovered earlier this year by independent auditors during their annual audit of the funds’ accounts; their outside counsel and the auditors then conducted a preliminary investigation and Robert Cataldo was terminated by the trustees of the funds. The orgs also said they had notified the FBI, leading to Cataldo’s arrest and guilty plea in August.

Cataldo was responsible for financial and accounting processes, including development, implementation and monitoring compliance of internal financial, accounting and related controls.

“Among other things, he deceived the trustees by making improper entries into the funds’ financial records to make it appear as though the monies that he embezzled were actually used for legitimate funds’ purposes,” the funds said.

According to the announcement, the trustees commissioned a study by the independent auditors to identify and implement additional procedures to insure the integrity of the funds and have taken actions necessary to prevent future embezzlement.

The funds also said insurance companies have agreed to reimburse them for the full amount Cataldo embezzled. “Therefore, the theft will not have any material impact on the financial status of the funds or its ability to provide benefits to its participants,” they added.

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