Stealing Money Was a Way to Cope

Mary Taylor, 47, of Barboursville was sentenced Tuesday to 1-10 years in prison during a hearing in Cabell County Circuit Court.  

Before her sentence, Taylor read a statement to the judge and court. “I want to start by apologizing to all that have been betrayed by any actions. I’d also like to tell my story as to what led to this.”

Taylor says that while she was an employee at the department, she was forced into a sexual relationship with a firefighter. She says she stole the money as a way of coping.

“When I had threatened him that if it did not stop, I would report it. His reply was that it was his word against mine and the department would back him. That he would report me to the chiefs for not doing my job. I mentioned that I would bring a harassment suit against the department. He said everyone would think I was a terrible person for suing a volunteer fire department. The actions I took made me a terrible person anyway,” Taylor said.

Taylor said she wished she could blame someone for her actions, but the only person to blame is herself. But she also told the court if the sexual abuse wouldn’t have happened, she would not have stolen the money. “I do feel that had it not happened to me, the sexual abuse and all, that none of this would have happened.”

Taylor asked to be sentenced to probation and said she would pay back back the money. The prosecution asked for a stiffer sentence, saying this embezzlement put safety of the residents of Barboursville and Cabell County at risk. They also said she had the ability to stop her actions at any time, but chose not to.

Ferguson said that the longest probation sentence he could give her would be five years and it would not be possible for her to pay back $91,000 in that amount of time.

Ferguson said, as with many embezzlement cases, “This is a calculated crime. It doesn’t happen just one time. They start, take a little bit and they keep going.”

Judge Ferguson asked Taylor why she just didn’t quit her job. She said it was because of the mental shape she was in at the time. His response was, “you had enough mental capacity to steal.”

Ferguson said Taylor did not show remorse, and blamed everyone around her for her actions. He then sentenced her to 1-10 years in prison.

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“She did it all for love”

Patricia Smith, 58, of Cranberry, Pennsylvania was sentenced for a $10million theft at the Baierl Acura Dealership.  “For many years, I did not like myself much,” Ms. Smith told U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond at her sentencing hearing. “I’ve always thought of myself as a horrible daughter, mother, wife and friend.”

She spent the money on friends and family, she said.

“I wanted to earn their love, and I wanted to see what happiness really looked like,” she said.

I literally can not make these stories up.   According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: She also bought “experiences” online, Mr. Kaufman said, including a Vatican Mass and front-row seats at a papal audience; a private tour of the Sistine Chapel; an escort on to the stage during a performance of “The Phantom of the Opera”; a $32,000 luncheon for six prepared by celebrity chef Ina Garten; dinner with Kevin Spacey after his performance of “Richard III”; and six club-level tickets for the Super Bowl in Dallas last February. Some of those she enjoyed herself, others she gave away.

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Embezzler Turned Arsonist??

Joy Cronin, former finance officer for Mill City, Oregon, was recently sentenced to three years for three counts of Arson.  She was ordered to pay $373k in restitution.  Cronin allegedly started a fire in order to cover up a $20,000 embezzlement of city funds which were deposited into her bank account.   The jury was told that the deposits stopped after the fire.

While setting the fire, Cronin severely burned herself and had to call 911. Authorities later found gas can tags in Cronin’s car that matched the cans found in the burned building.

Cronin, who maintained her innocence and pleaded that way, claimed she was in the city hall after hours because she had seen a light on when driving by and stopped to turn it off. While she was inside there was an explosion and flames erupted around her.

Mill City Mayor Tim Kirsch offered his take on the jury’s verdict. Although the community has since rebuilt its city hall, he said many still feel the trauma of the crime.

“I feel that this was the correct verdict in regard to the amount of evidence against Ms. Cronin. It however does not bring full closure to the city as we are still dealing with the aftermath and a divide it (has) caused in the city and (among) its citizens,” Kirsch said.

Prior to the fire, an auditor had asked Cronin for receipts that she claimed were missing. The city did not have a system for verifying or double-checking Cronin’s work, nor did it have any way of keeping records off-site.

“This is a case where she’s the only person who could have done it,” DDA Yardumian said.

 Mill City City Recorder Stacie Cook said at the sentencing that the fire also created divisiveness and mistrust in the community, according to The AP report.

For a recent presentation on Pink Collar Crime I did some research into Ms. Cronin.  She had a prior DUI arrest and a restraining order filed.  This personal background is very much indicative of female embezzlement suspects according to Dr. Linda Grounds.  Out of the approximately 30 individuals she has interviewed they only have DUI arrests if any and have a history of abuse.  Please see Dr. Grounds blog for further information:

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Mark Twain House Embezzlement Donna Gregor

A federal judge showed little sympathy Monday to an East Hartford grandmother who claimed she embezzled more than $1 million from the Mark Twain House and Museum to support her struggling, extended family.

Senior U.S. District Judge Warren W. Eginton allowed Donna Gregor, who faced fraud and tax charges, to address him to apologize for eight years of theft she committed while employed as controller of the national landmark museum on Hartford’s west side. He watched a brief, video plea from Gregor’s mother, who has been diagnosed with cancer and is being cared for by her daughter.

But the judge told Gregor’s lawyer, Gerald Giaimo, that he would not permit three of Gregor’s supporters to speak in court. And he interrupted Giaimo about halfway through a pitch for leniency to let the lawyer know he already had made up his mind. He said Gregor was going to prison.

Eginton sentenced Gregor, 54, of East Hartford to 42 months in prison — less than the 51 to 63 months she faced under the sentencing guidelines in effect in federal court. The judge also ordered Gregor to pay back the $1.08 million she embezzled, plus $500,000 the museum’s insurer paid to cover the loss and $323,480 to the IRS for taxes, penalties and interest on the stolen money.

Recently, Gregor attracted support from academics who believe she may have been driven by an irrational compulsion to support her family while ignoring the consequences of her behavior. Students of the condition even have a name for it: pathological altruism.

Interest in the condition is growing because of publicity connected to the impending publication by Oxford University Press of a book by the same name.

Barbara Oakley, an associate professor of engineering at Oakland University in Michigan, is lead editor and a contributor to the book. She wrote a letter last week to Eginton in which she said it is her opinion that Gregor stole — without considering the consequences — from a need to support children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and siblings who were living in broken homes, in trouble with the law or suffering from substance abuse.

“There is an important difference between a con artist and a pathological altruist,” Oakley wrote to Eginton. “Con artists intend to personally benefit from a crime. Pathological altruists may benefit through the ‘lift’ in their neural rewards circuit as a result of their help to others, but they do not normally materially benefit from their efforts.”

Eginton’s sentence suggests he found the argument posed by federal prosecutors to be more persuasive. They said Gregor was driven by greed because she wanted things she could not afford on her Twain House salary.

Among other things, prosecutors said Gregor spent $936 on four visits to a hair salon, $1,105 on tickets for a Britney Spears concert, $812 at the box office at the Foxwoods Resort Casino, $23,000 on kitchen remodeling and tens of thousands of dollars at department stores.

Gregor stole increasing sums from 2002 to 2010 and manipulated the museum books to cover the theft. She stole some of the money by forging the name of a museum executive on checks she wrote to herself

The embezzlement ended when a representative of Gregor’s bank, after eight years, called the museum to verify the signature on a check. When asked about the signature, Gregor confessed, according to a source familiar with the case.


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Woman’s Embezzlement leads to layoffs, wage freezes

A woman who embezzled so much money from a local company that it had to lay off some employees and freeze wages has been sentenced to four years in prison. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle says Sarah Jane Johnson, 42, formerly of Redmond, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Monday for wire fraud.

She was also ordered to pay more than $800,000 in restitution and spend three years on supervised release after she is out of prison.

She pleaded guilty earlier this year.

Johnson was head of human services for Driessen Services Inc., which designs and makes equipment for airplane galleys. Prosecutors say that beginning in 2005, Johnson kept former employees on the payroll system after they had left the company. She then changed their direct deposit to one of nine bank accounts she controlled.

Prosecutors say that over five years Johnson fraudulently directed $986,481 in payroll. About $715,000 was for her own use and $250,000 was paid in state and federal taxes on the payroll.

Prosecutors say the embezzlement was discovered after she left the company.

“Johnson’s actions caused a complete mess at the company,” prosecutors wrote in court documents. “During the period of Johnson’s fraud, the company struggled to understand why it was not profitable. ” As a result, the company laid off employees, froze pay, and demoted the managing director, who later left the company.  After the company discovered the fraud, it determined that Johnson’s actions had accounted for nearly fifty percent of the company’s losses in fiscals years 2007 and 2009.

“The company achieved profitability after Johnson left the company and the fraud

The scheme also meant that some former employees were told by the IRS that they owed more  in taxes and that others couldn’t qualify for unemployment benefits because it appeared they were still employed, prosecutors said.

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