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3-time embezzler gets prison term

The former chief financial officer of Buffalo's Franklin Assets Management investment firm was sentenced to two to four years in prison Wednesday on his third corporate embezzlement conviction.

Robert Burchett, 48, of Silver Creek, admitted stealing just over $60,000 while working as Franklin's chief financial officer in 2008 and last year before his firing last summer.

Burchett pleaded guilty Oct. 28 to third-degree grand larceny. He was ordered by State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski to make $222.50 a month in restitution payments starting three months after his release from state prison.

John C. Doscher, chief of the Erie County District Attorney's Special Investigations Bureau, said the firm has been partially compensated through corporate insurance and a Buffalo bank that cashed what proved to be Burchett's forged corporate checks. The investment firm is still out $25,428, which Burchett's restitution payments will cover.

Free on bail until Wednesday, the well-dressed Burchett, who was seen weeping in the courthouse hallway prior to his sentencing, told the judge, "I'm sorry, obviously."

Doscher told the judge that Burchett served a combined total of a few months in jail for the two earlier embezzlements.

After the sentencing, Doscher said Burchett embezzled $11,000 from Geiben Trucking, a Chautauqua County trucking concern he worked for in 1999, and another $53,000 from the Cherry Creek Woodcrafters company of South Dayton while he had a management post there until March 2001.

Doscher said authorities have yet to determine what Burchett did with any of the funds he embezzled.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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