'SVU' Actress Speaks as Victim of Real-Life Theft

January 10, 2012 - 11:46 AM
People Tamara Tunie

FILE - In this May 6, 2010 file photo, actress Tamara Tunie attends the 9th Annual Women Who Care Luncheon benefiting United Cerebral Palsy of NYC at Cipriani's 42nd Street in New York. Tunie spoke out Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, about being a real-life crime victim, saying her former business manager exploited her trust to steal more than $1 million she earned by working doggedly at a peak in her career. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)

NEW YORK (AP) — "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" actress Tamara Tunie is speaking out about being a real-life crime victim in New York City.

Tunie told a judge Tuesday that her former business manager, Joseph Cilibrasi (sihl-ih-BRAY'-see), befriended her family and gained her trust to steal from her.

She says "show business is fickle," so she cannot be assured of replacing the roughly $1.4 million he admitted taking.

Cilibrasi was sentenced Tuesday to 2 ½ to 7 ½ years in prison.

He pleaded guilty in November to stealing from Tunie and other clients. They include Kansas City Symphony music director Michael Stern.

Cilibrasi's lawyer, Gerald Shargel, says his client has accepted responsibility and expressed remorse.

Cilibrasi admitted writing checks from Tunie's bank accounts without her permission, among other things.