The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

83° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Former UA professor pleads guilty for meat fraud

Former animal and meat scienes professor John Marchello sits in his office in January, 2012. Marchello pleaded guilty to defrauding the UA by stealing thousands from the student-run meat market.
File Photo / Daily Wildcat

Former animal and meat scienes professor John Marchello sits in his office in January, 2012. Marchello pleaded guilty to defrauding the UA by stealing thousands from the student-run meat market.

On April 7, 2015, The University of Arizona Police Department, in conjunction with the Tucson Police Department, arrested and charged John Marchello, former UA tenured professor of animal sciences, with 10 felonies:

  • one count of felony computer tampering
  • seven counts of felony forgery
  • one count of felony theft
  • one count of felony fraud scheming
  • The charges were outlined in Pima County Superior Court documents obtained by Tucson News 4 investigative reporter, Matthew Schwartz.

    He remained on the UA payroll for the entire year during his court proceedings, being paid $106,000 while being accused of stealing nearly a quarter-of-a-million dollars from the university.

    Marchello was accused of skimming over $220,000 from the student-run meat market he oversaw on Campbell Road. The market sold meat to the public that was prepared by his students in the animal husbandry education program at the UA. Marchello was immediately placed on administrative leave with pay in April 2015.

    As of May 2016, he has resigned from the UA. The School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences would not comment on the matter.

    On Aug. 11, Marchello plead guilty to one count of theft of property or services, a class -four felony, and agreed to pay approximately $83,000 in restitution, a little more than one-third of what he admitted to stealing, according to court documents obtained by Carol Ann Alaimo at the Arizona Daily Star.

    As part of the plea deal, Marchello and his lawyers came to an agreement with the state to drop the nine other felony charges in return to entering a guilty plea to the class-four felony. The crime committed by Marchello took place between Jan. 1, 2013, and Nov. 30, 2014, according to Pima County Superior Court documents.

    During that nearly two-year period, he was a tenured professor at the UA, and his then-wife, Elaine Marchello, was an assistant dean for agriculture academic programs, earning an annual salary of $106,558. Six months after her husband’s arrest, she stepped down as assistant dean and was appointed assessment coordinator with the Office of Instruction and Assessment and took a lower salary of $88,000, according Chris Sigurdson, vice president of communications.

    Marchello’s sentencing date is set for Nov. 21 at 1:30 p.m. at Pima County Superior Court and is open to the public. The Pima County Attorney’s office, which prosecuted the case, has brought a civil forfeiture case against the Marchellos in an effort to recoup the remaining $140,000 he stole. His wife was not charged with any criminal offense.


    Follow Avi Tarquini Cassell on Twitter.


    More to Discover
    Activate Search