Former Sigma Pi Advisor Charged With Stealing Over $40,000 from Fraternity

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Published September 18, 2019
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The Montclarion
Former Sigma Pi Advisor and alumni steals from fraternity. The fraternity's rock is located between Blanton and Webster Hall. Olivia Kearns | The Montclarion Photo credit: Olivia Kearns

Joseph Specchio, Montclair State University alum and former advisor to Sigma Pi’s Iota Iota Chapter, was charged with third-degree theft after stealing over $43 thousand from the fraternity. Campus police arrested Specchio on July 30 after evidence showed his use of bad checks and fraudulent use of credit cards in addition to theft.

Being responsible for managing Sigma Pi’s treasury, Specchio stole exactly $43,819.86 from the fraternity over the course of two-and-a-half years, according to authorities.

Giavanna Caratozzolo, a junior English major, was upset by Specchio’s alleged deception.

“He is not following through on the basis on what he supposedly stood for and that’s just upsetting,” Caratozzolo said. “As well as the fact that the act of stealing from the basis of what helps these boys become something greater on a college level is even worse.”

Specchio had allegedly linked the fraternity’s funds to his personal Bank of America checking account. There were various money transfers from the Sigma Pi account to his account between February 2016 to December 2018.

Specchio used the fraternity debit card to link to his personal account on a daily basis. The money was used for personal items including goods, services, cash withdrawal, gas and food. Most of the purchases were made near his home or at Montclair State, authorities said.

Katelyn MacVane, a junior English major, shared her feelings on the matter.

“I think it’s horrible that someone would do this. That money was supposed to go to that fraternity’s funds to be used for important matters,” MacVane said. “I don’t have friends in a sorority or fraternity and I honestly don’t know what they do but I do know that what that guy did was wrong.”

The members of Sigma Pi became suspicious of Specchio and obtained the bank statement from their Bank of America account.

When it was discovered that Specchio was using the organization’s bank account to make personal purchases, they requested that he hand over the remaining funds to them. Specchio made a personal check out to them but when they cashed it, the check did not have the funds that he promised them.

Jonathan M. Frost, Executive Director and CEO of Sigma Pi, is aware of the situation regarding the fraternity.

“Sigma Pi takes the financial well-being of our chapters seriously,” Frost said. “At this time, we can not discuss this matter, as there is a pending legal investigation taking place.”

Kira Casas, Graduate Coordinator for Greek Life, did not have any additional information to share regarding the case.

“We do not have a statement regarding this, and ask that you do not contact members of the organization,” Casas said. “We will not provide their contact information.”

Specchio appeared in the Passaic Superior Court on Aug. 14. The matter was referred to a grand jury and there is no scheduled court date and no attorney listed for him.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to emphasize that the story is based on allegations made by the authorities.

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