East Naples car dealership's former bookkeeper gets 6 years in prison

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— An East Naples car dealership’s former bookkeeper was sentenced Friday to six years in state prison for embezzling more than $200,000.

Collier Circuit Judge James Shenko also sentenced William Patrick Cleary, 59, to 15 years of probation for grand theft over $100,000, a first-degree felony, giving him time to pay $203,675 in restitution to Nick Garulay, his former employer at Ambassador Auto Sales.

Garulay contended he’d lost more than $375,000 and told the judge that Cleary ruined him financially.

Garulay recovered about $172,000 after winning a lawsuit. The theft occurred between August 2008 and July 2010, when Cleary became a “father figure” to Garulay. A dealership manager spotted the thefts and alerted the Collier County sheriff’s Economic Crimes Unit.

In October, Cleary, who had a public defender, accepted a plea deal, but Garulay wanted more prison time.

Cleary then hired Naples defense attorney Donald Day, who said Friday: “My client is glad the case is over.”

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