Since leaving office in 2005, former Mayor Anthony M. Masiello has donated to lots of politicians and charities from his leftover campaign fund. But now a thief has made his way into the account.
Authorities are probing the theft of $18,500 from his Friends of Masiello account, which still lists almost $164,000 in assets, according to the state Board of Elections.
The former mayor said Tuesday it is “very unnerving” to discover that someone visited three Connecticut bank branches and somehow withdrew the money from his campaign treasury.
“You don’t realize the severity of something like this until it happens to you personally,” Masiello said.
Joanne Cavalieri, the former mayor’s long-time campaign treasurer, said she had sent a check for income tax on the account to the Internal Revenue Service several days ago when the bank returned it for insufficient funds.
“I told them that couldn’t be, but they said I was overdrawn by $2,000,” she said.
After discussing the situation with bank officials, Cavalieri said she reported the missing money to Buffalo police. She added it appears someone with a New Jersey driver’s license issued to an Anthony Masiello somehow convinced a bank teller in Connecticut of its legitimacy and obtained an account number. The thief then made three withdrawals at three KeyBank branches.
Police said bank officials have launched an investigation.
Retired office holders are permitted in New York State to keep their campaign treasuries for certain purposes, which Masiello – a lobbyist – has used for donations to various political and charitable causes.
He said the experience has made him more vigilant.
“This can happen to anyone, and I want to make people aware they have to be diligent in watching their accounts,” he said.