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Bookkeeper charged with stealing $27,000 from dentist's office

The widespread use of credit cards by small businesses in Lackawanna County and elsewhere often provides opportunities for embezzlement of company funds by persons entrusted to manage those funds. A prime example of this kind of office crime is the Lackawanna woman who has recently been charged with a crime for using a company credit card to steal almost $27,000 from her employer.

The defendant was the office manage for a dentist's office in the borough of Clark Summit. According to police, when the owner of the office applied for an American Express card, the woman secretly submitted an application for a second card in her name. American Express found several "flags" on the use of the second account, and it notified the dentist that it was suspending the second account. The dentist told police that he had not known about the second account until he received notice of its suspension from American Express.

When confronted by the dentist, the woman allegedly admitted to placing charges of $7,000 on the second card, and she agreed to repay this amount. However, a further investigation by the dentist's accountant discovered that the woman had used the company card to pay off balances on her personal cards in the amount of $26,925.33. After the dentist reported the theft to police, he was told that the woman had pleaded guilty to theft charges in 2012 for stealing $18,716 from a rehabilitation clinic where she was the office manager. The woman has been charged with forged credit cards, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property. Each crime is a felony.

The evidence in this case appears to be overwhelming, but the woman is still entitled to be presumed innocent unless and until she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone who faces similar criminal charges would benefit from consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide an evaluation of the facts of the case, suggest possible defense strategies and estimate the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea bargain or an outright acquittal.

Source: Scranton Times-Tribune, "Police: Dentist's office manager stole $27G," Joseph Kohut, Dec. 10, 2015

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