Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Former recreation clerk pleads to embezzlement in Rhode Island

Andrea Masterson, the former town employee who was charged with embezzling from the recreation department, pleaded no contest Tuesday in Newport County Superior Court. Masterson, 33, of Beach Avenue, Jamestown, was ordered to pay $15,000 restitution and placed on 18 months probation. Judge Edward Clifton presided over the case.

Masterson was arrested in May2012 after Recreation Director Bill Piva alerted Finance Director Tina Collins of money missing from the department’s office. Police Chief Ed Mello then began an investigation, and photocopied $20 bills were placed in the cash box. When the bills went missing, police called Masterson in for questioning and located the missing bills in her possession. She was immediately terminated.

The state attorney general’s office in February proposed sending the case to its diversion unit, an alternative to prosecution for firsttime felons. The Town Council, however, decided that the “nature of the incident alleged to have occurred was of such a serious and substantial nature, that a more fitting disposition than referral to the diversion program” was warranted. The council rejected the attorney general’s offer, and the case was sent back to court.

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