Chesco DA: CFO embezzled $1.4M from gift company

Posted: October 25, 2013

A former executive of a Chester County gift company has been charged with embezzling more than $1.4 million from his employers and using the money for lavish purchases, including $48,000 on concert tickets and a reception with the Dave Matthews Band, the district attorney said Wednesday.

Guido la Vella of Gilbertsville is accused of stealing from Taylor Gifts Inc., a direct-order company based in Tredyffrin Township, while he was the company's chief financial officer from October 2009 until May 2013. La Vella, 29, is facing a string of theft-related charges, including receiving stolen property and forgery.

"This was not a crime of need, it was a crime of simple greed," Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a statement.

La Vella waived his preliminary hearing Wednesday at Tredyffrin's district court and was released on $100,000 unsecured bail, his attorney said.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, la Vella admitted the theft during a recorded interview with the police and said he spent the money on luxury cars, as well as jewelry and season tickets to the Eagles. He is also accused of making at least one mortgage payment on his Gilbertsville home and paying down gambling debts with stolen funds.

The $48,000 Dave Matthews Band tickets were purchased on CharityBuzz.com, an auction site that raises funds for nonprofits, the affidavit said.

The scope of the theft was discovered through a financial audit and an investigation by Tredyffrin police, Hogan said.

La Vella's attorney, Robert Donatoni, said la Vella has accepted responsibility, paid back about $100,000, "and will continue to make efforts to minimize the financial and other collateral damage."


tnadolny@phillynews.com

610-313-8205 @TriciaNadolny

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