You almost have to feel sorry for Patricia Smith, the former controller at Baierl Acura who embezzled over $10 million from the suburban Pittsburgh dealership. Despite having stolen roughly $4,000 a day, seven days a week, for seven years, Smith's personal automotive aspirations extended no further than a new Honda Crosstour. Apparently being a criminal mastermind does not ensure good taste.

According to Automotive News, Smith did buy the requisite fleet of vehicles normally associated with so much dirty money but she gave away nine of the ten – including a ragtop Shelby Mustang for her husband. The 58-year-old woman's purchases also included charter flights to Europe and the Caribbean, Super Bowl tickets, four houses, and an autographed first edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, according to the report.

Her spending spree extended into the ridiculous, as Smith paid for a VIP Mass with the Pope, lunch catered by the Barefoot Contessa, and dinner with Kevin Spacey. Throughout all this profligate spending, Smith was earning a $53,000 annual salary, according to the report. She explained away her newfound wealth by saying she had invested in airline stock and worked as an online travel agent. Yet the woman was not exactly caught red-handed by her employer, as you might expect. After an e-mail from the dealership CFO questioned her accounting, she quit, and then confessed her crimes to the U.S. Attorney's office shortly thereafter, according to the report.

Smith's crimes ranked her fourth in a national survey of embezzlement crimes in 2011, according to AN, for which she earned a 78-month prison term that starts in July.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 79 Comments
      Burabus
      • 2 Years Ago
      How do you embezzle $10 million from a car dealership without getting noticed? Or are they making hundreds of millions of dollars a year?
        Hazdaz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Burabus
        The owner of one of the local dealerships (multiple car brands) is in fact a Billionaire, so a business making almost a hundred mill a year is really not out of the question. Still shows total incompetence.
          AcidTonic
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          Shows how unfair the pay structure is...... Not saying others put sweat and blood into the business like the founders but jeez let them feed their families on more than $10 an hour + commission when you're a BILLIONAIRE. And of course I expect the knee jerk "socialist" comment since any kind of fairness whatsoever is now labeled such. Doesn't that sound immoral on some level to you? Living on gold carpet while your slave makes do with pennies for his back breaking labor? Not coming back to observe the down-ranking.
        Joey Franklin
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Burabus
        Must not have been a corporate owned dealership the accountants would have caught that very quickly, my guess is a family owned lot with an owner that was never around.
          UN4GTBL
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joey Franklin
          She was the controller, so very few people would have been above her to see this. Apparently the auditors (if they were used) didn't catch it either, which is the stranger thing.
        Gorgenapper
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Burabus
        If you're embezzling money on a $53,000 yearly salary, the worst thing you could do is draw attention to yourself by spending that money in those ways.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Gorgenapper
          [blocked]
      GoldenBear29
      • 2 Years Ago
      Shouldn't it be "Woman"?!
      icerabbit
      • 2 Years Ago
      How the heck do you embezzle $10 mil from a dealership? Was she the accountant? Plus we all may be paying a bit more cushion for our vehicles than we thought. You can't survive that big of a hit ($4k/day) when you're only making a thousand dollars per vehicle sold. Oh, right .....
        reattadudes
        • 2 Years Ago
        @icerabbit
        I think you'd need to ask a lot fewer questions IF you actually read the article. she was the dealership Comptroller, and had financial control over all of the dealership's accounts. and I hate to enlighten you, but the selling of new cars makes up a tiny portion (15%-20%) of any new car dealership's profits. the vast majority comes from service, parts, and used cars. as a former new car myself, I used to love having "experts" like you come in and spend a week or two. my time as a dealer was pre-internet (we had a lot less 'experts' back then), but we still had plenty come in who were "experts" via the small timers bible, Consumer Reports. they'd put me in stitches telling me all about 'that OTHER invoice', since the one we showed was "fake'. it was always fun showing them the actual invoice (the only one we had), and then they'd get to see things like regional advertising (which could be $600 or more per vehicle) that were added to each and every invoice of that particular model. well golly gosh gee wiz, the small timer's bible didn't mention that, did they? they'd get to see us unconditionally guaranteeing a loan (this is called recourse; it means if the customer fails to make the payments, we got the car back, not the bank) just to get it done. I had one "expert" there when we did this one time for the parents of a handicapped child who needed a Caravan with special equipment. their credit had been decimated by medical bills, but I believed in them. they didn't let me down, either. of course, my little "expert" was confused by this, since all of us who are dealers were just a bunch of 'cheats', right? my little "expert" got to see us sell vehicles that had been here 10-12 months and accumulated thousands in floorplan interest, and watched us sell vehicles at a $5,000 loss just to move them. that, of course, was something they never thought about. they watched us pay for a $7,000 repair bill ourselves after the factory denied the customer's warranty claim because it was clearly neglect and abuse that caused the problem. but to us, it was worth keeping the customer happy, even if it meant eating a $7,000 repair bill. but, hey, that's what all us "ripoff" dealers do, right?
          icerabbit
          • 2 Years Ago
          @reattadudes
          All your diatribe does is unequivocally prove what you are so desperately trying to disprove, Mr/Ms "former car [sales person/dealer] myself" Reattadude. There is no need to get on a high horse and vent your frustrations at innocent other commenters. I did not ask for your input, I did not direct a single word towards you and yet you venture off into a personal attack. So, let's settle this. Yes, you are the expert and I'm just a stupid John Doe with 3 cars in the garage (who coincidentally also has to pay for service at the dealership, like I didn't know the service department makes money too). So she was the COMPTROLLER. I must have overlooked that or missed that connection ("controller") while my brain was desperately trying to figure out how a single dealership can be out of millions of dollars and stay afloat. Anyway, big thanks for the personal "enlightenment".
          brucec039
          • 2 Years Ago
          @reattadudes
          You're a failed dealer, right? Not surprising.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        [blocked]
      evannever
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hope the judge tacked on some time for stupid irrelevant taste: Kevin Spacey and the Pope?
      t0f
      • 2 Years Ago
      Only 6.5 years in jail??
      mchlrus1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Haha I live near this place. It's a shame that people do this, it decreases trust.
      cateitsma
      • 2 Years Ago
      My wife earns $4,000 a day working from an Acura dealership and has made $10 million so far! You could too by clicking the link...
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      She was doing this for SEVEN YEARS? How incompetent can a dealership be when someone gets away with doing this for that long??
        Randy
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        I was thinking the same thing. At what point to you wonder "Where is that 10,000,000.00 I should have".
      Speed-Driven
      • 2 Years Ago
      so did she have to pay back the $10M? cuz.. that's kinda worth it. $10M for 6.5 years of prison = $1.5M/year
        icon149
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Speed-Driven
        and she will probably only have to serve half the term at most. so not to bad.
        icerabbit
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Speed-Driven
        ROFLOL ... good thing I wasn't sipping my coffee the moment I read your comment. It is only 8 AM, but I give you the comment of the day ;)
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