File Photo – The Art Institute of Chicago | Photo: Google Street View

A Beach Park man was sentenced to three years in prison for stealing $2.3 million in funds and spending it on “extravagancies” while he was employed at a museum in Chicago.

Michael Maurello, 56, of Beach Park, was charged in January with two counts of wire fraud and two counts of bank fraud.

An indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago accused Maurello of fraudulently obtaining the museum funds from 2007 to 2020.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Maurello listed himself as the payroll manager for The Art Institute of Chicago. He reported working there since 2000.

Maurello, who is no longer employed at the museum, caused the museum to deposit more than $2 million into his personal bank accounts, the indictment said.

He designated the payments in the payroll system as having been made to other employees or former employees, the indictment said.

[Suggested Article]  Man dies after being ejected in crash that left woman seriously injured near McHenry

The indictment said that the museum’s assistant controller asked Maurello in January 2020 about one of the payments.

Maurello falsely said that the transaction had been a test of the payroll system, according to the indictment.

Maurello allegedly edited and altered a report from the museum’s payroll system to conceal information about the misappropriated funds.

He did so by falsely changing the employees’ names and the dates and dollar amounts of the payments, the indictment said.

Maurello pleaded guilty in April to one count of wire fraud.

In his plea agreement, Maurello admitted that he kept spreadsheets and notes to track the misappropriated money so that he could later make reversals within the payroll system to hide the thefts.

In a sentencing memorandum filed, prosecutors said Maurello did not need any of the money he stole and went to “great lengths to cover up his scheme.”

[Suggested Article]  'Nearly cost him his life': Volo woman arrested after victim suffers serious injuries in stabbing in Wauconda

Maurello used much of the money for “extravagancies,” such as trips to Hawaii and Las Vegas and to buy jewelry, prosecutors said, adding he has not repaid the money.

Attorney Frank Cece Jr., who is representing Maurello, said his client has significant medical and physical issues, including the amputation of his right leg below the knee.

Maurello is “genuinely remorseful and regretful of his conduct,” his attorney said.

“Defendant has lost everything he cherished in his life. His husband of 20 years divorced him. Most of his family has alienated him. He is no longer employed nor employable due [to] the instant matter and his medical condition, which has deteriorated substantially since this case,” Cece said in arguing for a lighter sentence.

U.S. District Judge Manish Shah sentenced Maurello on Thursday to three years in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons followed by three years of supervised release.

[Suggested Article]  20 years in prison for 18-year-old convicted in fatal shooting of victim near College of Lake County in Grayslake

Maurello faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The judge also ordered him to pay back the $2.308 million “immediately.”