BOSTON (AP) – A former finance director of the Massachusetts Teachers Association was sentenced to two years in prison on Thursday for embezzling more than $800,0000 in union dues.

Richard Anzivino, 49, of Needham, pleaded guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to five counts of larceny over $250 and six counts of making false entries in corporate books with intent to fraud. In May, he pleaded innocent to the charges.

Two larceny charges and one false entry charge have since been dropped, according to Attorney General Tom Reilly’s office.

Judge Carol Ball ordered Anzivino to serve one year, with the other suspended for five years with probation. The sentence was stayed until Jan. 2.

In a six-year period starting in January 1996, one month before he was promoted to chief financial officer, Anzivino wrote himself about 270 MTA checks, according to prosecutors.

Anzivino allegedly only wrote checks for less than $5,000, so he wouldn’t need a second signature, and then listed the payments as valid expenses.

Anzivino was fired from his $90,000-a-year job last September after union officials were alerted by the union’s bank to suspicious transactions.

Prosecutors said used some of the embezzled money to fund gambling trips to Connecticut casinos.

Anzivino appeared to live modestly, commuting to work on public transportation. He received good performance reviews during his time at the MTA, according to prosecutors.

The MTA, the state’s largest teachers union, has an annual budget of $30 million, raised from the dues of some 98,000 member teachers. Its funds are fully insured, so dues and union services are not affected by the alleged embezzlement.

Anzivino’s attorney, Thomas Healy, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

AP-ES-12-18-03 1800EST

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