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Angela Wray Collapses as She Is Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison Over Defrauding Celico of $60K

| April 29, 2013

Angela Wray this afternoon, moments before she heard the judge sentence her to three years in prison. (© FlaglerLive)

Angela Wray this afternoon, moments before she heard the judge sentence her to three years in prison. (© FlaglerLive)

It’s not unusual for a defendant to be shocked by a verdict—or, in Angela Wray’s case, a prison sentence—she never thought she’d face, for a crime she never once admitted committing, triggering appalling consequences she never once showed remorse over.

But when Flagler County Circuit Judge J. David Walsh sentenced Wray to three years in state prison and 15 years on probation for defrauding Carlo Celico and his auto body shop in Bunnell of $59,000, she collapsed.

Wray, 36, was awake and aware, but she seemed to have lost power in her legs. Walsh suggested that the bailiffs get her head between her knees to breathe. Then the bailiffs laid her on the floor and called paramedics as Walsh cleared the courtroom of all but Wray’s family members. The sentencing hearing was over, anyway: Walsh had been going over details about the $59,000 in restitution Wray would have to pay, and how she could cut her probation term in half if she were to avoid any violations, and pay back the full $59,000 in less than eight years after she is released from prison.

Moments earlier, Wray, the mother of three children—an 11-year-old girl, a 15-year-old boy and a grown daughter, the latter adopted—had been at the defendant’s table, listening, at times smiling at something one of her family members or friends would say as each was brought to testify on her behalf in attempts to lessen the sentence.

But when Walsh asked her if she had anything to say on her own behalf, she declined. She did testify during the trial earlier this month, but only to parallel her attorney’s strategy of turning the tables on Celico, whom she accused of running a poor business and messy books, eventually calling the 120-some checks she wrote to herself, off of the company’s accounts, loans Celico was aware of. Celico denied making such loans, and a jury convicted Wray in less than 12 minutes.

One member of Wray’s group—a friend who’d testified on her behalf—was sitting outside the courtroom with others after it’d been cleared, and called Celico a “thief” and a “liar” as he stood within a few feet of her, speaking to reporters. Celico told her that she should go to church, and walked away.

Carlo Celico. (© FlaglerLive)

Carlo Celico. (© FlaglerLive)

“It should have been a little longer, but it’s OK,” Celico said of the sentence before describing himself as bewildered by Wray’s family and friends who spoke of her “family values” and her church-going. “I don’t know what church she goes to,” he said, also casting doubt on her husband’s claim that he did not know—despite frequent trips to Disney and his wife’s extensive shopping sprees—that there had been a vast increase in cash flow in the family. The prosecution said the Wray household was living on twice its normal income of around $4,000 a month, though Wray’s husband, Chris, a deputy with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, said he never noticed anything different. At times, he said, the fridge was bare and he ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, waiting for the next paycheck.

Celico, whose son is a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy, said he didn’t believe the husband. Chris Wray, for his part, was intent on leaving his association with the sheriff’s office unspoken: when the prosecutor, Jennifer Dunton, called him “Deputy Wray,” he immediately cut her off and asked her to “call me Chris.” She called him “Mr. Wray.” He had come to the courtroom in civilian clothes.

Regina Nunnally, the defense attorney and assistant public defender, crafted her sentencing strategy around the sympathies Wray’s family could elicit, and the hardships her absence would inflict on the people she would leave behind. Beside the Wrays’ two young children, Chris Wray had invited his mother-in-law to move in with the family, from New Jersey (where Chris and Angela had met and married 17 years earlier), after her husband died. The mother-in-law was herself called to the stand to describe her various ailments, including seizures, which the two young children cannot always tend to. Chris Wray’s night shifts (6 p.m. to 6 a.m.) at the sheriff’s office make it difficult for him to be present as well when needed.

“The hardship, I mean—it’s incredible,” Chris Wray said, describing the circumstances at home and pleading with the court to impose a sentence of time served and a long probation–not prison.

In a strange twist during the hearing, Nunnally asked Wray why he hadn’t testified at trial. Angela, he said, had asked him not to. She feared that there might be “retaliation” from the sheriff’s office. She didn’t want “the sheriff coming after me in some way shape or form.”

Maggie Wray, the oldest of the Wray children, also pleaded with the court, calling her adoptive mother “a woman of god” and describing how detrimental her absence would be. “We don’t want to lose a member of our family over something so silly.”

Both the prosecution and the judge would pounce on that word—“silly”—by describing the offenses Wray was guilty of as nowhere near silly.

Only Celico testified for the prosecution, asking for what the prosecution was asking for: at least five years in prison, if not more. Before trial, the prosecution had offered Wray a five-year prison deal, which Wray turned down. (Nunnally told the judge that she did not recall such a deal, and that if any had been proposed, it was limited to two years. But Nunnally had to back down later when Dunton produced notes indicating that the five-year proposal had been made on the record.)

The prosecutor then again turned the blame on Wray. “I feel for her family but shame on her because she is the only person who has done this,” she said, calling it a “horrible position for her family to be in, but that’s on her.” The prosecutor repeatedly referred to Wray’s felony conviction in New Jersey on an almost identical charge: embezzling an employer, a case for which she is facing a $300,000 lawsuit (and another reason Celico doesn’t believe he’ll see a dime of the money she took from him).

“Having sat through a lengthy trial, having heard the evidence, I must say that I do not find personally this to be a silly charge, nor a ridiculous charge,” Walsh said before handing down the sentence.

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31 Responses for “Angela Wray Collapses as She Is Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison Over Defrauding Celico of $60K”

  1. Alfred E. Newman says:

    I hope that Ms. Wray behaves like a model inmate, and is released early.
    (Is the sentence 3 years w/o probation?)
    The sooner the better so that she can somehow find work to pay restitution to Mr. Celico.

    I am a little surprised at Mr. Celico’s insistence on a minimum 5-year term.
    He certainly knows loss, and knows that money isn’t the most important thing in the world.
    But then again he was robbed by someone he trusted, and he must feel suckered.
    I’m not bashing the man, who produced such a good son. I just don’t understand his rigidity.
    He isn’t poor by any means. I could comprehend this anger if he was robbed of all his savings.

    5 years is too much for a meek, non-violent offender, as is three.

    If she was a mega-crook like a typical bank CEO, she’d never see a jail cell, let alone be
    charged with anything. The lesson here is STEAL BIG or go to jail.
    That’s why I see this as overkill. Sorry.

    A sad story.

    Feel free to jump all over me for my comment. I’ll be expecting you.
    Maybe I’ll put up a pot of coffee. How do you take your coffee?

    • Realty Check says:

      You are correct in the fact that the big players, celeberties and athletes get away with so much, but a crime was committed and she needs to answer to it. The old if you cant do the time dont do the crime rings true here. I understand the Celico’s are not poor, but just because a man builds a business into a success does not mean its okay to steal from him.I guess all I am saying is 50K is a lot of money and she has a past history of this behavior, I think she was lucky not to get the full 5.

      • Alfred E. Newman says:

        Thanks for rebutting. You bring out a good point.
        If I had my druthers, I’d incarcerate her for a year.
        I can’t imagine a day in jail, let alone a year. A year is plenty stiff.
        And like I said, more time to start repaying the ill-gotten funds.
        No question that she did wrong.

        I hope your day is a good one.

    • Irish Girl says:

      With cream and sugar, thank you. This woman has done the same thing to another employer??? Three years is a fair sentence, as is the probation to follow. If she does get another job, she should never be in a position to handle money. Of course her family doesn’t want to see her go to jail. They sound like a nice family, but the children need to see there are consequences to our actions.

    • carlo celico says:

      you people are right if she did it one time but she almost put a good employer up north out of business because she did the same thing , and for the people that they say I have money I do it honestly and work every day I do not steal thank you . And the death of my son has nothing to do with my decision of Wray. I still think that she thinks she deserved to steal from me she did not have the decency of saying she is sorry . And i think her husband should too.

  2. tulip says:

    Justice was served in this particular case.

  3. Just a thought says:

    Good for you Mr Celico. You didn’t let her get the best of you. You fought her and won. I hope she rots in prison.

  4. rose duncan says:

    She deserves more time and by far is anyone in the Celico family a thief.

  5. RG says:

    How shocking it is to have to actually have to pay for a crime she committed. Really? She assumed since her boss was doing well why not skim a little off the top. Now its time to pay back. Nothing is free short of the lottery payoffs. and even that will cost $2 a pop to play. I hate when people use the Church and their kids as a an excuse for leniency. She is lucky she only got 3 years.

  6. Deep South says:

    To me this is the lowest of the lows. Taking advantage of a business that puts it”s trust and faith in you to provide proper book keeping, by stealing and falsifying the books. This is a sin, by taking a hard working man for his livelihood. Shame on you Mrs. Wray.

  7. Think says:

    3 years of someone’s life taken for $60,000. That doesnt seem fair for this particular offense. You can always pay the money back but she’ll never get those years and potential memories back.

  8. cindy says:

    Im glad justice was served… They could have given her alittle more time only because she was guilty and took it to trial wasting all of our hard earned money for her court cost. The Celico family is awesome and did not deserve this done to them. Goes to show that Karma will bite you in the toosh!!!! God is always watching out.

  9. confidential says:

    I am very sorry of what happened to all involved. Especially of Mrs Wray poor judgement regarding her activities. I am deeply sorry for her children and family while, I also somewhat agree with Mr. Newman above….the thieves that steal from us all, millions and billions robbing us of our homes, savings and 401 K’s,”those too big to prosecute” that engineered the recession we are in today, are still on the loose. What a selective way to enforce justice! I also hope Mrs.Wray gets released soon on good behavior, making room for real murderous criminals instead, so she can come back home to her family. I also hope Mr.Celico recovers his funds.

  10. Jackie Mulligan says:

    I am so glad to see all the Wray sympathizers rooting for her.It is a sad day in America where the thief, yes she is a theif and a liar,and a repeat one at that,gets all the sympathy.
    This woman and her family,yes, her policeman husband too,enjoyed the fruits of someone elses labors.They are wonderful examples of what not to do.Children please do not repeat, learn from this.

    If I were the judge she would have gotten much more than 3yrs, since she didn’t learn from her past in N.J.

    I don’t know what God she worships to, but maybe while she is in prison,she can pray for forgivness.
    And her supporters,well, you seem more interested in seeing other peoples transgressions,than what was right in front of you.
    When someone owns up to their mistakes they have a chance for change, when they blame others, they will probably repeat their acts.
    I am sorry for the Celico family, and I do hope that this small amount of justice allows them to heal.
    I do not know any of the parties involved, but by reading the history of this woman, she was given a chance before to change her ways, but it didn’t work,all she did was change her address and start over again.Shame on her.
    Jackie Mulligan

  11. Anonymous says:

    This was her second offense so I think she should consider herself lucky to have only received three years. Two different businesses + two different states = Guilt

    Unfortunately the children will think our justice system is flawed since she refuses to admit her guilt. The younger ones will pay a higher price than she for her poor decisions and actions. Three years is a long time without a mom regardless of what she has done.

  12. Agnese says:

    To Maggie Wray, I hardly think stealing $59K from a small business is “something so silly” , perhaps you need a reality check?

  13. BeachGuy says:

    @ Think, she’ll have plenty of memories while sitting in her new 10×10 concrete home for the next 1,095 days….and maybe those memories will be so awful that she won’t want to steal for the THIRD time (though we are only aware of 2 offenses).

  14. Nancy N. says:

    To Alfred E. Neuman and Confidential, who are wishing that Mrs. Wray will get out early on “good behavior”…there is no such thing. Florida abolished parole years ago. Florida inmates have to serve, by law, 85% of their sentences, which means Mrs. Wray will have to serve a minimum of 30.6 months of the 36 months she was sentenced to. Inmates can earn up to 10 days per month of “gain time” that is credited towards earning their release at 85%, but no matter how much gain time they earn they cannot be released before their 85% date.

    I might agree that this sentence was harsh if it were her first offense, but it’s not. She had the chance already to have a wake up call and to fix her life without going to prison. She didn’t, and chose instead to repeat her crime. So, there has to be consequences for that. Unfortunately, Mrs Wray won’t get what she really needs in custody, which is probably mental health help.

  15. Think About it says:

    Two income family….no reason to steal, no excuse period. Hard to believe the husband didn’t know something.
    What about the Jersey incident? Gezzzzz $300,000 ? Sounds like a pattern to me…
    She ought to have to work her debt off…

  16. LOST says:

    Really? 3 yrs r u kidding me!!!! what a joke lock her up throw away the keys……..this was her 2nd time doing this…….her husband did’nt know…….hes a cop…WOW! Shes a peice of garbage

  17. GoodFella says:

    How do some police officers buy fancy houses, sports cars, speedboats, motorcycles etc on there salaries?? Open your eyes Rose!!

    • idea says:

      How about lock her up one day for every dollar she stole!?!? Give her ample time to think about why she shouldnt! I hope she collapsed in relief that the penalty was only 3 years!! Nothing worse than a thief!! Well im sorry, Barrack Obama is our president….

  18. Nancy N. says:

    “The prosecution said the Wray household was living on twice its normal income of around $4,000 a month, though Wray’s husband, Chris, a deputy with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, said he never noticed anything different. At times, he said, the fridge was bare and he ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, waiting for the next paycheck.”

    In Officer Wray’s defense, I suspect that his wife has a shopping addiction. It would explain why so much money was coming into the house and yet the cupboards were bare. He might have seen purchases but been told they cost less than they did or just not understood the prices of items (how many guys know what women’s clothing costs, for instance?). Shopping addiction is notoriously hard to treat, if the person even seeks treatment at all.

    • A.S.F. says:

      …or a problem with gambling (or some other addiction.) You would think that someone would notice items piling up, if there was a shopping addiction, unless she’s really good at hiding stuff or she’s giving stuff away, to promote her own image as a charitable “giver”. Either way, considering that her spouse is in law enforcement, you would think he would have seen some signs of trouble, having been through this before. I hope Mr. Celico receives his compensation and I also hope the Wray family receives some professional help to stop the stealing and enabling behaviors (as well as any help they may need with any related mental health and/or addiciton issues.) Note to the friends and supporters ot the Wray family (including church members): If you really care about Ms Wray and her family, support efforts to help them face their issues instead of making excuses for them (which will just end up being more enabling) or looking the other way. It’s sad all around.

    • carlo celico says:

      he is not a good cop if he did not know but on the other hand he will never be a good detective

  19. Jeannie Fontana says:

    I think the thief should have gotten at least 10 years. She got off easy. She did not think of her children or family while stealing from the Celico’s. I hope every day is horrible for her. I hope she learns something from this but I doubt she will.
    Her husband will never make detective if he is that clueless, especially since he lived through the same thing before.
    I doubt she will ever pay the money back, probably just move again and continue to steal from honest hard working people.

  20. Shannon says:

    Wow just wow!!!

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