Thursday, November 19, 2020

LI Radio: Ex-Manager Admits To Defrauding Thousands

Stephanie Bitis
The former general manager of Long Island Radio Broadcasting has admitted to making hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal charges on the business account.

58-year-old Stephanie Bitis, of Sag Harbor, pleaded guilty on Monday, Nov. 16, in federal court to felony access device fraud, according to citing court documents.

Bitis’ crime carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment of 15 years, a fine of up to $250,000, and forfeiture of any proceeds from her crime.  She is scheduled to be sentenced on March 26, 2021.

The longtime resident and community activist served as Vice President/General Manager of LIRB from 2015 to 2017. Long Island Radio Broadcasting includes 102.5 WBAZ, 101.7 WBEA, 92.9/96.9 WEHM, She had previously worked at CBS Corporation. 

Following years of lackluster financial results, she was terminated, said Lauren Stone, owner of the radio station.

A suspicious wire transfer caused Stone to review the company’s American Express statements for the preceding six months, she said After noticing several charges that appeared fraudulent, Stone engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the radio station’s financials. 

The investigation found that Bitis had purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal charges on LIRB’s corporate American Express card, Stone said.

Among other things, Bitis charged a family vacation to Aruba, personal visits to the orthodontist, boat maintenance and boat fuel, and even tax services for delinquent personal income tax payments. Stone said. 

She concealed her fraud by submitting falsified documents to LIRB’s accountant. She went so far as to create her own bogus American Express statements, removing vendors such as her orthodontist to hide the personal charges, Stone added.

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