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Local stock broker sentenced to 5 years for stealing $1 million

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Posted: July 31, 2008 3:57 p.m.
Updated: August 15, 2008 5:00 a.m.
    A woman convicted of stealing more than $1 million from Merrill Lynch and clients of the company received a sentence of five years in prison. The former stock broker, Doria Sabia-Florence, worked in the Statesboro Merrill Lynch office as well as in Boca Raton, Fla.
    U.S. District Judge B. Avant Edenfield handed down the sentence last week in the U.S. District Court in Statesboro. In addition to the 60 months (five years) in prison, Sabia-Florence will also be on supervised probation three years after her release and must pay restitution for the money she was convicted of taking — $1,174,660.57.
     Edmund A. Booth, Jr., United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, said Sabia-Florence was indicted by a federal Grand Jury in October of 2007 and later convicted of wire fraud.
    "The indictment against Sabia-Florence arose out of an investigation into financial irregularities associated with the brokerage accounts of Sabia-Florence’s clients," he said.  
    Booth said evidence at the guilty plea and sentencing hearings  proved Sabia-Florence "fraudulently transferred $679,670.00 from the accounts of nine (9) unsuspecting clients" while employed from 1997 to 2007 with Merrill Lynch & Company  in both Boca Raton, Fla. and Statesboro.
    "Specifically, Sabia-Florence would forge her clients’ names to letters of authorization, which caused monies to be unlawfully transferred to accounts" she controlled, he said.   Then, "Sabia-Florence used the stolen funds for her own benefit; for the benefit of family members; and for the benefit of other clients."
      As part of her sentence, Sabia-Florence was ordered to pay Merrill Lynch the sum of  $1,174,660.57, which was the amount paid by Merrill Lynch to the defrauded clients, he said.
    Booth praised the successful efforts of the investigator in this case, FBI Special Agent Marcus Kirkland.  The government was represented by Jim Durham, Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
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