Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Former Upstate New York Municipal Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Nearly $1 Million

Melissa L. Wagner-Dano, 33, of West Leyden, New York, plead guilty Monday to charges she embezzled nearly $1 million from the Town of Lewis, and two local farm cooperatives. She had served as town clerk and bookkeeper for the Town of Lewis between 1999 and 2009; managed the finances of Boonville Farms Cooperative between 1997 and 2009; and Oneida Lewis Milk Producers Cooperative between 2006 and 2009. Specifically, Wagner-Dano plead guilty to one count of federal wire fraud. Wagner-Dano is scheduled to be sentenced on August 16, 2010. The thefts reportedly occurred over a nearly 2 year period, between January 2007 and December 2009. Authorities allege Wagner-Dano created a fictitious set of books for the Town of Lewis on an Intuit Quickbooks file. She reportedly issued herself a number of unauthorized checks and other funds transfers from the municipality and the farms. Her thefts allegedly break down the following way:
• $640,000 was stolen from the Oneida Lewis Cooperative
• $250,000 from the Town of Lewis
• $33,000 from Boonville Farms
Total misappropriations according to authorities: $923,000.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (10/26/10): Wgner-Dano was sentenced to 78 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution.

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