Bradenton woman takes plea for Galati fraud

The time has come for a Bradenton woman to pay the piper.

Heather Jo O’Leary, 40, was ordered to repay $67,927.37 she skimmed from gift shop and fuel dock receipts in four years as an accounts payable/receivable clerk at Galati Yacht Sales.

The restitution was ordered as part of O’Leary’s sentence and plea deal March 20 at the Manatee County Judicial Center, one month after her arrest for a felony scheme to defraud.

Twelfth Circuit Court Judge Gilbert Smith Jr. accepted the plea and found O’Leary guilty, but withheld her conviction.

O’Leary’s sentence also includes 100 hours of public service work and a prohibition against acting as a bookkeeper or handling funds in an employment capacity without disclosing her criminal history.

Leading to O’Leary’s arrest, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation with a Galati representative who audited the business accounts in July 2018, after O’Leary resigned from the marina, 900 N. Bay Blvd., Anna Maria.

The MCSO probable cause affidavit states O’Leary “altered deposits with checks to cover cash shortages.”

Fran Galati said in a March 22 email she believed justice was served with O’Leary’s guilty plea and sentence because she must notify employers of her crime.

“She has done this to her employers in the past,” Galati added.

“Now all future employer will be aware of her character.”