In October of 2014 the owner of a local business reported to the Office of the State’s Attorney that the office manager, Smith, had stolen a large sum of currency from the business. Smith had been the office manager for 16 years and had full responsibility of managing the finances of the business, among other duties.
During the last several years the business had been suffering financially to the extent that the owner had to deplete their personal savings and secure additional loans simply to make the payroll expenses and daily operating expenses required to keep the business open.
In September 2014 the owner stumbled upon a credit card bill that was the business card assigned to Patricia Smith. Smith was limited to using this credit card for emergency expenses for the business when required. Smith was also the individual that was responsible for paying the credit card bills associated with the company. The owner examined the credit card bill and discovered a high volume of personal expenses that had been charged by Patricia Smith to the credit card. The owner then examined several prior months of Smith’s credit card statements, as well as the business checking account, and noticed a large scale theft being committed by Smith.
The investigation by the State’s Attorney’s Office determined that Smith had made personal purchases on the credit card dating back several years. These purchases included furnishings for Smith’s residence, family vacations for Smith and other family members, as well as a high volume of miscellaneous personal expenses totaling in excess of $200,000. Smith had also issued herself unauthorized checks from the business checking account that totaled in excess of $125,000. The investigation also revealed that Smith had manipulated the business computer accounting system to mask the theft. Checks that were issued to and cashed by Smith would actually appear in the accounting system as being made payable to creditors of the company. It was determined that Smith had been conducting this theft scheme for at least 7 years.
Smith faces 25 years of incarceration and is scheduled to be sentenced in the Circuit Court on July 7, 2015.
The State’s Attorney, Lance Richardson, prosecuted this case.