N4T Investigators: Longtime UA professor pleads guilty - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Longtime UA professor pleads guilty

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Tucson - The News 4 Tucson Investigators have learned that a man who taught at the U of A for nearly 50 years has pleaded guilty to stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the university, your tax dollars.

John Marchello, one of the college’s longest-serving professors, has pleaded guilty to one count of "Theft of Property or Services,” which is a felony.

Court records show the 80-year-old Marchello entered the plea on Aug. 21, and we’ve learned he’s agreed to pay $83,020 in restitution to the university. 

Marchello managed the student-run meat lab on N. Campbell, which has a store that holds weekly sales to the public. 

Sergeant Filbert Barrera of the UAPD said, “The money wasn't going entirely to the university, it was going into his private accounts, that he only controlled and that he would only know about.”

Barrera said detectives followed the money after getting a tip from an insider that over nearly a two-year period in 2013 and 2014, Marchello was diverting meat sales revenues to his personal account. Investigators obtained search warrants and seized Marchello's computer, invoices and sales receipts. 

Marchello could not be reached for comment and his attorney didn't return our call. Marchello made about $106,000 thousand dollars a year as a Professor of Animal Sciences. He resigned from the university in April of last year, just days before he was indicted.

Sgt. Barrera said, “As being part of the university, I think we owe it to ourselves to make sure that this doesn't happen again.”

The Pima County Attorney's Office believes Marchello diverted a total of almost $223,000 from the university, and has begun a civil forfeiture case against him, seeking another $140,000 in addition to the restitution he's agreed to make. The civil case is on hold until the criminal case is over. 

Marchello is scheduled to be sentenced in November on the Class 4 felony, which typically carries a sentence of between one year and three years, nine months. 

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444. 

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