Brunswick credit union settles with employee who embezzled more than $500,000

Posted March 12, 2012, at 9:37 a.m.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Atlantic Regional Federal Credit Union has settled a civil suit against the Topsham woman who pleaded guilty in September to embezzling more than $500,000.

Credit union officials agreed to accept $370,000 in restitution, instead of the full amount she stole.

The total amount Marsha Richard will be required to pay in restitution following her conviction remains to be determined by U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby.

Richard, who worked for the credit union for 23 years, was sentenced in January to 33 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to felony theft from a credit union.

U.S. Attorney Thomas Delahanty II told the court that over approximately six years, Richard manipulated accounting entries regarding checks deposited by credit union members that were returned for insufficient funds. When the funds were collected, rather than crediting the account, Richard credited her own account or those of her daughter, husband or other family members or friends. She then diverted the money for her own use.

Richard admitted to the crime and faced a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and $1 million fine.

She is required to report to the federal prison in Danbury, Conn., by March 23.

Before that time, she is required to begin paying back the money she stole.

In a joint recommendation filed Tuesday, Delahanty wrote that Richard already paid the credit union $50,000 under the terms of the settlement agreement.

That money came from her 401(k) retirement account, according to Richard’s attorney, Richard Regan of Moncure & Barnicle. Richard is scheduled to pay another $20,000, to be raised through the sale of various personal property.

“In exchange for those initial payments, [ARFCU agreed to] cap the additional restitution … so that the total restitution is somewhere in the neighborhood of $370,000,” Regan said.

The law requires that the court impose 100 percent restitution, Regan said.

“But that doesn’t mean that in a civil suit, one can’t settle for less,” he said. “The problem is, how do we get around the fact that the loss is 100 percent.”

“Even though that had taken place and she began to make good on the civil agreement, there was no way the court was allowed to change the amount of restitution because, in fact, she [pleaded] to the higher figure,” Regan continued.

On Thursday, Roger Sirois, president of ARFCU, referred calls to attorney James Poliquin of Norman Hanson & DeTroy, who represented ARFCU in its civil case against Richard.

Poliquin did not return calls by press time.

Regan acknowledged that whether or not the credit union and its insurer ever see the full amount of restitution remains to be seen.

“Sometimes, when you have a tremendous amount of restitution, it may never be paid back in full,” he said. “ But the U. S. Attorney’s Office will figure out at what level she can pay it back when she gets out of prison. It depends upon what type of employment she’s able to get afterward. … It may never happen, and who knows? Maybe it could.”

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