Long Island Radio Broadcasting is reporting that their former General Manager Stephanie McNamara Bitis (pictured), who also worked for CBS Radio, has plead guilty to fraud. McNamara Bits was accused of using the station AMEX card, for personal use, then covering it up. She was GM from 2015- 2017
November 17, 2020 – Stephanie McNamara Bitis, former General Manager of Long Island Radio Broadcasting LLC (“LIRB”), pled guilty to felony access device fraud in federal court proceedings on Monday, November 16.
Owner Lauren Stone tells Radio Ink McNamara Bits was terminated following years of lackluster financial results. A suspicious wire transfer caused Stone to review the company’s American Express statements for the preceding six months. After noticing several charges that appeared fraudulent, Stone engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the radio station’s financials.
Stone says the investigation revealed that McNamara Bits had purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal charges on LIRB’s corporate American Express card. “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. 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.”
In October 2020, the government charged Bitis with felony Access Device fraud. At her plea hearing, Bitis admitted that she illegally used the radio station’s corporate American Express credit card for personal charges and that she actively concealed the fraud.
Stone says she was shocked that this happened. “These radio stations are a passion– a true labor of love for all of us who work here. I was shocked and saddened that someone would do this to us—especially in such a small, tight-knit community. I’m thankful that justice has been served and that she will not be able to defraud anyone else.”
LIRB is grateful for the hard work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York for their investigative efforts in bringing justice to LIRB and all of its loyal listeners.”
Bitis read the following statement in court: “I made efforts to disguise the true and unlawful nature of these expenditures by misrepresenting their personal nature on corporate accounting records and by making the necessary minimum monthly payment on my corporate American Express card so my fraud would not be discovered by the station owner. My actions were intended to, among other things, disguise the true unlawful nature of these withdrawals,”
Bitis’s crime carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 and forfeiture of any proceeds from the crime. Sentencing is March 26th.
Long Island Radio Broadcasting owns 3 radio stations, WEHM-FM, WBAZ-FM and Beach 101.7.