On Friday, December 17, Chief US District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf sentenced former Steamship Authority (SSA) bookkeeper Armine Estelle Sabatini to one year in prison for embezzling $144,975 from the boatline. She is to report to prison on January 25.
Judge Wolf also ordered Ms. Sabatini to serve 36 months of supervised release after her release from prison, make full restitution to the Steamship Authority, and pay a fine of $4,000.
In October 2001 and continuing through September 2009, Ms. Sabatini, a bookkeeper who worked in the Woods Hole office and was responsible for resolving customer credit card disputes, created fictitious names of Steamship Authority customers and assigned refund credits to them.
During the relevant time period, Ms. Sabatini fraudulently processed 381 credit card refund transactions to 20 different credit cards she controlled. By processing credits generally of only a few hundred dollars and falsely recording that they were processed to actual or fictitious customers, until September 2009, Ms. Sabatini never triggered an alert by the Authority’s credit card processor that the credits were being processed to credit cards with no previous sales, according to an Authority press release.
In imposing the sentence, Judge Wolf said that Ms. Sabatini’s crimes were a serious and calculated betrayal of her position of trust that affected all of the people who use the Authority’s services in traveling between the Massachusetts mainland and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
The SSA thanked the investigative agencies involved, which included the Office of US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Falmouth Police Department.