On May 19, a Salem, Massachusetts, woman pleaded guilty to embezzling at least $183,000 from St. Ann's school in Methuen, Massachusetts. The 51-year-old defendant admitted, according to prosecutors, that she stole petty cash and used credit cards belonging to the school beginning as far back as July 1, 2006.
The defendant's boyfriend accompanied her to the plea hearing. As part of the defendant's plea, she admitted to using the stolen money to purchase items for his restaurant, also located in Methuen. Additionally, the defendant splurged on a shopping trip to a designer handbag outlet, expensive meals and a host of other luxury purchases.
The prosecution was seeking the imposition of an 18-month jail sentence for the defendant's embezzlement. They justified that lengthy stay by noting that the school the defendant victimized specialized in helping people in great need. The judge handed down a sentence of 2.5 years' incarceration at the state woman's prison at MCI Framingham, Massachusetts. As part of the plea deal, the defendant must serve nine months of that sentence, with the remaining time suspended for a probationary period of five years.
Additionally, the judge ordered the defendant to pay monthly restitution payments towards the amount she stole from the school and compelled her to participate in a community service program called, "Life Through Literature." The defendant must also write an apology letter to the school.
Criminal defendant's need to remember that despite what the prosecution says about the amount of evidence they have, they still have an obligation to prove every charge leveled against them beyond a reasonable doubt. Sometimes that can be difficult to do, especially if the documents they are relying on to prove their case no longer exists. Also, each defendant reserves the right to challenge the testimony of witnesses brought against them.
Source: Eagle-Tribune, "St. Ann's ex-CFO gets jail in thefts" Jill Harmacinski, May. 20, 2014