ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Carmel woman has been sentenced to serve 18 months behind bars after pleading guilty to stealing more than $50,000 from a local doctor’s office.
Rita G. Worster on Friday received an overall sentence of six years behind bars with all but 1½ years suspended. She also will have to serve three years of probation upon her release; if she violates the terms of the probation, she could end up serving another 4½ years in prison.
Worster, 50, embezzled the money while working for Frenchman Bay Orthopedics in Ellsworth between December 2005 and July 2007. Frenchman Bay Orthopedics is a private practice affiliated with Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth.
Worster pleaded guilty to a Class B charge of theft and a Class B charge of forgery in December 2007. Theft of more than $10,000 is a Class B crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000.
Hancock County District Attorney Michael Povich, the prosecutor in Worster’s case, said Monday that the reason Worster was not sentenced until a year and a half after she pleaded guilty was that the state wanted to give her time to make restitution on the money she stole, which police say is $50,452.96.
On Friday, when she appeared in Hancock County Superior Court for her sentencing by Justice Donald Alexander, Worster had not repaid any of it, Povich said.
Worster forged 25 checks while working for the doctor’s office, 20 from one account and five from another, according to the prosecutor.
“She handled the finances of three doctors,” Povich said. “She claims she needed it for medical treatment.”
Investigators were unable to confirm that Worster was in poor health, he said.
Attempts Tuesday to contact Worster’s defense attorney, Will Blaisdell of Ellsworth, were unsuccessful.
If Worster is able to make restitution, she will have to pay $47,452.96 to Travelers Insurance, the medical practice’s insurer. The cost of the policy’s deductible, $3,000, will have to be repaid directly to Frenchman Bay Orthopedics, according to court documents.
Povich said he is satisfied with Worster’s sentence.
“It was totally appropriate,” he said. “You’ve got to send a message to people that [you’ll go to prison] if you steal a large amount of money.”