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Lazzari to be sentenced Nov. 10

| Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2008

BELLE VERNON - The borough's former tax collector is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 10.

Driscilla J. Lazzari, 57, of 219 Wood St., was charged with theft by unlawful taking, embezzlement by a tax collector and tampering with public records for overbilling mortgage companies that kept tax payments in escrow accounts.

She was accused of stealing or misappropriating nearly $63,000.

At a Monday council meeting, Solicitor Mark Galper said Lazzari has pleaded guilty.

Council in June received $15,852 from Lazzari's bonding company, Zurich Insurance Co.

The bonding company agreed to pay $6,000 to cover real estate tax payments Lazzari did not submit to the borough and about $12,000 paid to accounting firm Cypher and Cypher to conduct audits that revealed the missing money.

Police said Cypher and Cypher determined that $62,788.11 was missing from the borough's tax account from 1998 to 2004 - after borough Secretary Donna Bitonti noticed irregularities.

Lazzari has agreed to make restitution and enter into Fayette County's Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for first-time, nonviolent offenders.

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