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.