Tamara Tunie Scammed

November 11, 2011 by staff 

Tamara Tunie ScammedTamara Tunie Scammed, An accountant who managed money and tax transactions for entertainment clients out of his Chelsea office pleaded guilty to scamming “Law & Order” actress Tamara Tunie out of $1.4 million on Thursday.

Joseph Cilibrasi, 51, who was not certified, admitted he scammed Tunie by opening a credit card account in her name in 2002 claiming he was her spouse. He wrote checks to himself and to his company routinely by abusing his role as her business advisor since the 1990s, he confessed in court Thursday.

Prosecutors said that with the stolen funds — including $75,000 from another client — Cilibrasi invested in “Spring Awakening” and the “Legally Blonde” musicals.

“This is a case about a man so desperate for celebrity that he ripped off his entertainment industry clients in an effort to become like them,” Assistant District Attorney Peirce Moser said at Cilibrasi’s arraignment in December 2010.

In exchange for his plea, Cilibrasi, who pleaded guilty to several counts of grand larceny, is expected to be sentenced to 2-1/2 to 7-1/2 years in prison on Jan. 4.

Cilibrasi, who had an office on West 24th Street, has been unable to pay restitution to Tunie or to Kansas City Symphony director Michael Stern, who he also admitted to stealing $75,000 from. He will be forced to start paying back the cash after his release from prison.

Cilibrasi also admitted Thursday to a criminal possession of stolen property charge for opening a credit card in the name of screenwriter Janet Roach.

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