Baldi Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement in Charlottesville

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James Baldi James Baldi

Former owner of Charlottesville restaurant Bel Rio admits he embezzled money from several area businesses. James Baldi, 49, used to handle payroll and taxes for several Albemarle businesses, and now he's coming clean about stealing thousands of dollars from his clients.

Baldi already pleaded guilty to four counts of felony embezzlement in Albemarle County last month. Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to an embezzlement charge in Charlottesville. 

Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman says Baldi took somewhere between $22,000 and $23,000 from Café Cubano on Charlottesville's downtown mall.

Chapman said the owner of Café Cubano started noticing state and federal tax dollars not being paid. Then, a large amount of money was transferred from the restaurant's bank account to Baldi's.

That's just one of several business Baldi admits to embezzling money from while he handled their finances. Police say the embezzlement charges stem from incidents that happened from 2008 to 2010.

In July of 2010, Baldi skipped town to avoid the embezzlement charges. California police arrested Baldi back in January and he was sent back to Albemarle County. Baldi since has pleaded guilty to all four counts of felony embezzlement and has agreed to pay restitution to the victims.

Baldi could face up to 20 years in prison for each charge. He will face a joint sentencing hearing in Charlottesville on September 17 at 9:30 a.m.

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