Renata Shamrakova admitted in Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday that she stole nearly $1 million while working as the personal assistant to hedge funder Todd Meister. She had initially denied the charges. Under the terms of her plea deal, she will avoid going go jail, but must repay what she took within two years.
When asked by the judge if she had committed grand larceny in the second degree by stealing from Meister, 28-year-old Shamrakova said, “Yes, your honor.”
Meister, 42, has insisted that he had nothing but a work relationship with Shamrakova. The young woman has been saying since her February 2012 embezzlement arrest that the stolen money had actually been “gifts” Meister gave her during the course of a workplace romance.
By owning up to the charges and securing a plea deal, Shamrakova averted a possible 15-year prison term. The actual amount that she must pay back is $821,000. It is believed that her parents will pay her debt by selling a chunk of upstate property, according to the NY Post.
Shamrakova committed identity theft by taking out two American Express cards in Meister’s name. She travelled to Aruba, Canada, India, Italy and France and also purchased thousands of pieces of jewelry that she sold for cash online. She would then pay off the credit card companies by writing checks using Meister’s JPMorgan account.
“I appreciate the hard work that the DA did in this case and their willingness to look at the facts,” Meister said. He added that he was grateful that “justice was served.”