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Lancaster man sent to prison for embezzling from Christian bookstore

A two-time embezzler was sentenced to prison time and ordered to make restitution Tuesday for stealing from the Christian bookstore that had given him a second chance.

Richard Peter Pascucci, 35, of Bowen Avenue, Lancaster, was given an indeterminate sentence of four to eight years by State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns for embezzling $100,000 from Bender’s Christian Store in Clarence while he worked there.

Pascucci pled guilty to grand larceny for falsifying gift certificate records at the store and pocketing the cash. He reportedly used the money to finance his gambling addiction.

Pascucci previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in federal court in 2011. While working as a financial adviser, he took money entrusted to him by his clients and used it for himself. He reportedly stole $206,000 from one woman in 2009 and $55,000 from a second woman in 2010. He was sentenced to 30 months in the case and was hired by the bookstore after his release.

Before pronouncing sentence, Burns remarked on the generosity and forgiveness expressed by Pascucci’s victims.

“You almost put them out of business. They almost went under – $100,000!” Burns said. The store owners thought the missing money was a clerical mistake, an accounting error. “Anything but this,” the judge said. “You lied to them. They extended their hands to you, even knowing your history.”

While the victims said they would be satisfied with Pascucci receiving the minimum sentence, Burns said, “I’m not quite that generous ... I can’t ignore the history and the damage you have done.”

In addition to the jail time, Burns told Pascucci that he must repay “every last penny” that he stole from Benders Christian Supply.