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WOMAN SPARED JAIL IN SCHOOL THEFTS

The former chief fund-raising official at Mount St. Mary Academy has been spared a prison term for stealing more than $46,000 from the girls school.

The former director of development also has repaid more than $2,500 in expenses the school had not recovered.

Deborah Mancuso, of Mapleview Drive, Town of Tonawanda, told State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia on Wednesday she was "extremely sorry" for the thefts. He placed her on five years' probation and ordered her to perform 200 hours of community service.

Mancuso, 45, who pleaded guilty Feb. 2 to third-degree grand larceny, declined to comment as she left the courtroom.

John C. Doscher, chief of the Erie County district attorney's White-Collar Crime Bureau, said insurance carriers had compensated the school for the stolen funds but Mancuso paid $2,575.17 to cover the cost of the audit that uncovered the thefts after she had been fired for unrelated reasons.

Mancuso was accused of stealing school funds between Sept. 10, 1997, and Aug. 22, 2003. In January, she was indicted on two counts of grand larceny in the theft of checks and cash donated to the school, but school officials agreed to her plea to a single larceny count, Doscher said.

Mancuso faces a prison term of up to seven years if she gets into further legal trouble while on probation, Doscher said.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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