Former Long Island Radio Broadcasting Manager Pleads Guilty To Fraud
November 19, 2020 at 1:20 AM (PT)
Former LONG ISLAND BROADCASTING VP/GM STEPHANIE McNAMARA BITIS, pleaded guilty to felony access device fraud in federal court proceedings on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16th. BITIS' crime carries a maximum sentence of 15 years, a fine of up to $250,000, and forfeiture of any proceeds from her crime.
BITIS served as VP/GM of LIRB from 2015-2017, originally hired in SEPTEMBER, 2015 (NET NEWS, 9/25/2015). She had previously worked at CBS CORP. and was a member of the SAG HARBOR SCHOOL BOARD. Following years of lackluster financial results, she was terminated. A suspicious wire transfer caused owner LAUREN STONE to review the company’s AMERICAN EXPRESS statements for the preceding six months. After noticing several charges that appeared fraudulent, STONE hired an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the radio station’s financials. That investigation revealed BITIS had purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal charges on LIRB’s corporate AMEX card. Among other things, she charged a family vacation to ARUBA, personal visits to the orthodontist, boat maintenance and fuel and even tax services for delinquent personal income tax payments. She concealed her fraud by submitting falsified documents to LIRB’s accountant. She went so far as to create her own bogus AMEX statements, removing vendors such as her orthodontist to hide the personal charges.
In OCTOBER 2020, the government charged BITIS with felony Access Device fraud. At her plea hearing, she finally admitted that she illegally used the radio station’s corporate credit card for personal charges and that she actively concealed her fraud from LIRB’s owner. She is scheduled to be sentenced MARCH 26th next year.
LIRB owner/WEHM on-air personality STONE said, “These radio stations are a passion -- a true labor of love for all of us who work here. I was shocked and saddened that someone would do this to us — especially in such a small, tight-knit community. I’m thankful that justice has been served and that she will not be able to defraud anyone else.”