Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Former Proctor school employee sentenced for embezzling in Vermont


A former administrative assistant at Proctor High School will serve 14 months in prison for embezzling more than $106,000 from student activity funds between 2007 and 2009.

Deborah Clough of Proctor, appearing for sentencing Tuesday before Chief Judge Christina Reiss at U.S. District Court in Rutland, also was ordered to pay $111,000 to the school’s insurance carrier, which reimbursed the school for the lost money. The $111,000 includes a $5,000 deductible fee paid by the school.
Reiss also ordered Clough to pay $19,440 to the Internal Revenue Service, based on the income she diverted to her own use.
Clough was arrested in March and immediately agreed to plead guilty to embezzlement and tax-fraud charges. In an interview with the Burlington Free Press at the time, she blamed her conduct on a “shopping addiction” and other personal issues.
“I’m really, really sorry. I wish it didn’t happen. I’m trying to make restitution,” Clough said at the time.
According to court papers, Clough wrote checks to herself from the high school’s student activity fund and fabricated other supporting documents to make the transactions appear proper.
Clough was hired by the school in August 2006. Her responsibilities included “general accounting and bookkeeping activities such as preparing purchase orders and requisitions, ordering supplies and preparing invoices for payments,” according to court papers.
She also prepared and printed school checks and had access to the school safe, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
At Tuesday’s sentencing, Proctor principal June Sargent told Reiss that Clough had been a trusted employee who had taken advantage of the school. Clough, in a statement read by her attorney, apologized for her actions, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia Cowles said.
Clough will begin serving her prison sentence Aug. 23.

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