NEW YORK – A quiet Queens, N.Y., secretary used erasable ink to embezzle $400,000 from her Wall Street boss' personal checking account — then bought her hubby a pizza parlor with some of the dough, authorities said yesterday.
The suspect, Anamarie Giambrone, worked at brokerage Bear, Stearns & Co.'s headquarters for a year before she was busted July 13 by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, law-enforcement sources said.
Her husband, Salvatore Giambrone was arrested a week later in the felony scheme, the sources said.
The stealthy secretary allegedly stole from right under the nose of her detail-obsessed boss, Bear, Stearns honcho Eli Wachtel, for months before he discovered the thefts.
Wachtel is also on the company's board of directors.
Her method was simple, authorities said.
First, she would write out personal checks for Wachtel as he instructed, but using erasable ink. Then she'd take the checks to him to be signed, sources said.
Once back at her desk, the wily woman would erase the name for whom the check was designated and make the check out to cash, sources said.
Her boss, who deals with numbers in the millions for a living, did not discover the thefts from his own account for eight months, authorities said. It wasn't until he got calls from vendors asking for their money that he learned of the alleged scheme.
Sources said the secretary was able to get away with what she did for so long because she was able to gain the confidence of the investment honcho — she was sweet, pretty and unassuming, frequently chatting up his kids when they called the office to talk to him.
Wachtel, 49, who lives with his family in Scarsdale, N.Y., feels personally betrayed by the whole ordeal, the sources said.
His family and the secretary had become so friendly that he even invited her to his son's bar mitzvah, they said.
Sources at Bear, Stearns said Wachtel was "mortified" by his failure to notice the siphoning of his funds sooner.
Wachtel, a senior managing director in charge of strategic structural transactions and international equity trading, declined to comment yesterday.
Anamarie, who was arrested Friday the 13th, and her hubby were arraigned on grand larceny charges. Salvatore is also charged with criminal possession of stolen property. Both face 15 years in prison.
Salvatore Giambrone is back on the streets, having made his $150,000 bail, but his wife is sweating it out on New York's Rikers Island jail, unable to come up with her $250,000 bail, sources said.
Investigators said the Giambrones, both in their 30s, spent at least $142,000 of the $400,000 to buy a pizza parlor and equipment, and a vacation, sources said.
Some of the money also went to pay down Salvatore's credit-card debt, sources said.
Anamarie's uncle, Jozo Bosnjak, last night said Salvatore — who lives with Anamarie in a middle-class apartment on Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing, in New York City's borough of Queens, — came over to his place two weeks ago and said: "‘Your niece, she stole money.' I said, ‘You're crazy.'"
"I'm shocked and surprised. It's a big mess," Bosnjak said.
A man spotted leaving the couple's apartment last night, whom Bosnjak identified as Salvatore's father, barked, "I don't know nothing! Leave me alone."
Bear, Stearns' reps were not reachable for comment yesterday.