MANHATTAN — An Italian woman who stole more than $1 million from her 94-year-old employer to finance a failing sweets shop in Chelsea was indicted for grand larceny Friday, the Manhattan District Attorney announced.
Selvaggia Pizzetti, 43, stole $1.16 million from the elderly espresso machine salesman and real estate developer to fund Crave.It, a gelateria and pastry shop that specialized in polenta cookies and miniature pizzas that opened in 2014, according to the DA.
Pizzetti was managing the books of her victim’s numerous businesses from his West 44th Street offices in 2013 when she first transferred $60,000 from the man’s personal bank account into her own, the DA said.
When she later opened her 30-seat sweet shop at 546 Sixth Ave. in April 2014, Pizzetti told DNAinfo New York that her great ambition was to get New Yorkers to eat gelato in winter.
"I really follow food as a passion,” said Pizzetti. “It's a form of art when I work in the kitchen."
Pizzetti also followed her passion for art by doctoring her employer’s books, making 22 unauthorized wire transfers to finance Crave.It rent, construction and employee salaries, according to the DA.
When Pizzetti’s employer discovered earlier this year that his assistant had been funneling funds into the bakery, he fired Pizzetti and reported her to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, who mounted an investigation.
Pizzetti was charged with grand larceny on Friday as well as criminal tax fraud for failing to file state income tax returns in 2014 and 2105, according to the DA.
“This defendant is accused of stealing more than a million dollars from her 94-year-old employer to bankroll a pie-in-the-sky business venture,” said a statement from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who also referred to the business as “a gelato and pastry shop which ultimately failed.”