Scranton, Lackawanna County - After serving Lackawanna County as an education leader for decades, the former head of the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit #19 will soon go to prison.
Fred Rosetti was sentenced to 33 months in prison Tuesday afternoon. After being released, he will also have to serve two years probation.
Rosetti was also fined $30,000 for his crimes and ordered to pay $137,944.13 in restitution. Rosetti pleaded guilty to theft and mail fraud last year.
He admitted misusing NEIU staff and money for his own personal benefit and the benefit of his family.
In handing down his sentence, the judge told Rosetti "being a public employee did not give you a license to plunder the public treasury or use employees as servants."
"We knew it was tough coming in, there was a lot of public pressure out there but I think Judge Mariani is a great judge and he had to make the decision," defense attorney Terri Pawelski said.
In court, Rosetti apologized to NEIU staff and children and asked for forgiveness. Outside of the courthouse, in front of television cameras, Rosetti said nothing and didn't make mention of his promise to repay society for the wrongs he committed.
"I can only repeat what he said in his own statement that the power of the office caused him to do these things. He made a mistake," Pawelski said.
The sentencing hearing lasted nearly four hours as defense lawyers tried to argue for the lightest sentence possible based on the fact that Rosetti has already lost his pension and has a wife battling diabetes.
Rosetti pleaded guilty to theft and mail fraud last year. Over his 12 years as executive director of the NEIU, Rosetti admitted misusing staff and money for his own benefit. He admitted creating fake travel vouchers and having employees do work at his own home.
"The message that goes out with all of these cases is, you can't do it because you'll probably get caught and if you get caught, you're going to pay dearly for it," defense attorney William DeStefano said.
Rosetti originally signed a plea deal with prosecutors that called for only a 12-18 month sentence. That deal was rejected by the judge last month. That led to the stiffer sentence handed down Tuesday.
"He tossed it all away," DeStefano said. "Stupidly, tossed it all away."
Rosetti will have to report to prison on April 4th.
His attorney says they do not plan to appeal the sentence.