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Former Parks Commissioner sentenced to 3 years for embezzlement

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A former top administrator for the St. Louis city parks department who pleaded guilty to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday afternoon. He also must re-pay the city of St. Louis more than $472,000.

Joseph Vacca was the former deputy parks commissioner.

In September, Vacca and the former Chief Park Ranger Thomas 'Dan' Stritzel pleaded guilty to a massive fraud scheme where they embezzled around $500,000 from the city.
The two admitted that they overbilled the city through submitting inflated invoices from vendors.

Then they funneled the extra funds to sham companies that they set up and used the money for their own personal expenses.

Prosecutors say through lies and false representations, Vacca and Stritzel convinced the vendors that they were using the extra monies for actual equipment purchases for the city.

Investigators say the scheme went on from 2005 to 2013.  Stritzel is set for sentencing in January.

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