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A longtime secretary for the art department on the North Campus of the University at Buffalo has pleaded guilty to stealing $47,300 in department funds between the spring of last year and this past July, when she was forced to resign.

In return for her guilty plea to a felony charge of grand larceny, Erie County Judge John V. Rogowski has committed to placing Nancy Swigonski, 47, of Pheasant Run Lane in Lancaster, on probation for five years, with the understanding that she will make restitution.

Ms. Swigonski, who remains free without bail, is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 5.

UB public safety officials had received an anonymous letter about Ms. Swigonski, who had worked at UB since 1969, and a school audit revealed shortages in an art department lab fee account she was handling.

Ms. Swigonski was confronted early in June and admitted taking school funds "for personal use," according to sources.

According to court sources, Ms. Swigonski would take cash and then destroy department copies of receipts in an attempt to cover the thefts.

Court officials said Ms. Swigonski told UB officials that she began taking school funds only when she began experiencing "severe personal financial problems" in the spring of last year.

Although Ms. Swigonski told UB officials that she took only money she needed to exist on at that time, a school audit showed $47,300 missing, and she pleaded guilty to stealing that amount but did not explain what she did with the money, court officials said.

John C. Doscher, a financial prosecutor for the Erie County district attorney's office, confirmed that Ms. Swigonski resigned from the department July 31.

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