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Bookkeeper charged with embezzling $492,000 from employer

Small businesses must necessarily depend upon the honesty of their employees in order to prosper. When a critical employee such as a bookkeeper is dishonest, the losses can almost ruin the business. The Cousin's Convenience Mart learned this lesson when it turned to a long-time employee to manage the company's books after the death of its founder.

The founder of the small chain of convenience stores died in May 2012, and the family hired a trusted employee as bookkeeper. Seven months after becoming bookkeeper, the employee began skimming cash from the company's business on a daily basis. The woman was arrested on Feb. 2, 2016 and charged with theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and tampering with the company's records. According to police, the woman stole $265,483 from the company's store on Betty Street in Eynon and $227,192 from the store on Hill Street.

The thefts were made by removing hundreds of dollars in cash from each store every day. The alleged embezzlement was discovered when the business began losing money. A family member noticed that cash amounts on spread sheets prepared by the bookkeeper did not match the till reports from each store. The family member took the information to the district attorney's office, where the thefts were verified. According to the district attorney's office, the bookkeeper owed restitution from prior criminal convictions and was using the money stolen from Cousin's to make payments.

At face value, the evidence against the defendant may appear to be overwhelming, but she, like all criminal suspects, is entitled to be presumed innocent unless and until she is proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone in similar circumstances may want to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for an evaluation of the facts and law that control the case, possible defense strategies and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or outright acquittal.

Source: Scranton Times-Tribune, "Bookkeeper accused of stealing $492,000 from Cousin's Convenient Marts," David Singleton, Feb. 3, 2016

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