An accountant who was working for an East Hampton firm pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Criminal Court on Aug. 23 to embezzling slightly more than $400,000 from an elderly client whom she was supposed to be helping to pay bills, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office.
Sheila Parrish-Miles, 54, of Riverhead, had recently been fired from the firm, when it was discovered she had been writing checks from the elderly man's account, endorsing and depositing them into her own account, the DA's office said.
They were unable to provide the name of the firm.
She was fired from the job for poor performance in October 2010 and one of the partners discovered that she had been writing checks to cash for herself, according to the DA. She was arrested on Aug. 26, 2011.
Parrish-Miles was indicted on one count of grand larceny in the second-degree in February 2012. She has been free on her own recognizance since.
On Thursday, she pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny, a felony. She will receive a sentence of 2 to 6 years. The prosecution had recommended 3 to 9. Sentencing is scheduled on Oct. 4.
"Ms. Parrish Miles expressed extreme regret for the situation," said her attorney Colin Astarita, of Southampton. "She had indicated in court that the money was spent on online gambling sites and she has sought therapy for the gambling addiction," he said.
"Other than this incident she has never been in any trouble whatsoever, she is involved in her church and her family and has made it very clear how disappointed she is that she let this addiction go so far without confronting it," Astarita added.
The court has ordered a “Restitution Judgment Order” for the full amount. The individual whose account was involved was paid by the insurance company. "I believe that there was a deductible paid out by the accounting firm," Astarita said.