EXCLUSIVE: A former bookkeeper at a popular Englewood Cliffs hub for travel agents agreed yesterday to a five-year prison sentence for stealing $575,000 from her employer.
Patricia Slattery, 55, now of Del Ray Beach, took the money from REZ Connect Technology to feed a Percocet habit, defense attorney Frank Lucianna said.
In addition to her prison term, Slattery agreed to repay the money, beginning with a lump sum of $47,500, along with another $5,000 from a 401K account, $30,000 currently in her attorney trust account and the $17,500 she posted for bail when she is sentenced next month.
Slattery already owed $2,681 in restitution for a conviction in a similar crime against Trutone, Inc. of Hackensack from 2000 – 2002. In that case, Slattery was convicted of conspiring with the company’s comptroller to steal nearly $30,000. She spent 364 days in the Bergen County Jail and was ordered to repay $13,400.
Rez Connect Tech, which also does business as Travel Network and Vacation Central, was founded by Michael Brent in 1982 and quickly became known for a quick and efficient system linking travel agents to tour and cruise suppliers.
With offices on Sylvan Avenue, the company has done much of its work hosting websites that allow agents to immediately connect to restaurants, hotels, cruise lines, and tour operators and others and book reservations.
Executives at REZ Connect had thrown a retirement party for Slattery when they later discovered more than $200,000 gone. Englewood Cliffs police investigated, and she was later arrested and extradited from Florida on theft and money laundering charges.
Slattery had access to bank accounts and other online information and “invaded the various accounts to get money for her drug habit in amounts of $10,000 to $20,000 at a time,” Lucianna said yesterday.
Although the agreed-upon prison sentence is for five years, the defense attorney said, he will argue for a reduced term.
STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
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