A contrite Andrea Costantino took full responsibility Wednesday for stealing more than $14,000 from the University at Buffalo, provided proof that she has repaid the full amount and received a conditional discharge.
Costantino, 48, previously pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the fourth degree for using her position as director of campus living at UB to embezzle $14,664 from a Faculty Student Association account. She used the money to buy a $4,200 treadmill and four $300 gift cards for athletic apparel, according to the State Inspector General's Office. She also made an $8,000 charitable donation to ensure her entry into the Boston Marathon and spent the rest on a trip to Kissimmee, Fla.
Prosecutors did not make a sentencing request, although they expect to in the case of Costantino's co-defendant, former UB Vice President Dennis R. Black, according to Assistant District Attorney Gary Ertel.
Black, who is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 10, pleaded guilty in September to grand larceny in the second degree, a Class C felony, and submitting a false instrument. He reportedly stole more than $320,000 from the university, beginning in 2007. Black stole the money despite being among the university's highest-paid employees, with a salary of almost $300,000 a year.
The case stunned the UB community and the community at large. Costantino is active in her church and was well-regarded on campus. Black had an excellent reputation at UB and was active as a leader and contributor to the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, among other groups.
Under the three-year conditional discharge, Justice John L. Michalski ordered that Costantino also perform 250 hours of community service, managed through the county probation office.