Finger Lakes winery manager sent to prison for embezzling $228,573 from company

Rochester, N.Y. — A former employee of a Finger Lakes winery was sentenced Thursday to prison for stealing over $200,000 from the company, prosecutors said.

Michael Stein, 43, of Waterloo, was convicted of wire fraud and sentenced to 27 months in prison, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Western District of New York.

The embezzlement started four months after he was hired and lasted for more than three years, prosecutors said.

In July 2018, Stein was hired as the office manager and bookkeeper at BellAngelo Wineries in Dundee, prosecutors said. From November 2018 to March 2022 Stein embezzled a total of $228,573, they said.

Prosecutors say he stole the money in several different ways.

From January 2019 to March 2022, Stein stole $131,437 through miscellaneous payroll schemes that involved interstate wire communications, according to court documents.

The documents state Stein received $77,736 fraudulently through unauthorized payments of petty cash belonging to the winery through November 2018 through December of 2021.

In 2021, court documents show Stein made unauthorized withdrawals from bank accounts belonging to BellAngelo Wineries of $19,400.

Alongside his prison sentence, Stein was ordered to pay restitution totaling the amount he stole, they said.

BellaAngelo Wineries locations: The Tasting Room & Missick Cellars Art Gallery at 150 Poplar Point Rd in Dundee, and Geneva Tasting Room at 226 Turk Rd in Geneva.

Staff writer Darian Stevenson covers breaking news, crime and public safety. Have a tip, a story idea, a question or a comment? You can reach her at dstevenson@syracuse.com

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