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Lehigh Valley

James Fortunato, former GM of Cosmopolitan Restaurant, charged with theft

Money spent on dinner cruises, at strip clubs, officials say

Ex-restaurant manager accused of stealing more than $163K

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A Lehigh County man has been arrested on charges he stole thousands of dollars from the restaurant where he worked as general manager.

James Fortunato used the $163,601 he stole from the Cosmopolitan Restaurant on North 6th Street in Allentown for his personal use, said Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin.

Fortunato was hired as a manager of the restaurant in September 2010 and promoted to general manager about a month later, officials said.

The position, according to court documents, made Fortunato the sole signatory on the restaurant's bank accounts and ATM/debit accounts and gave him check-signing authority for the restaurants checking accounts, a Visa credit card and an American Express account and access to the restaurant's cash receipts.

One of the Cosmopolitan's owners, while reviewing the restaurant's financial records in June, found a series of suspected unauthorized purchases by Fortunato, including expenses for dinner cruises and visits to a strip club and ATM cash withdrawals in Pennsylvania and New York, officials said.

Fortunato, 41, of Coplay, Lehigh Co., was charged Friday with theft by unlawful taking and or disposition and receiving stolen property. He was freed on $50,000 unsecured bail.

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