May 27, 2018
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Ex-worker at EMHS charity pleads guilty to stealing $56,000

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — A former employee of the charitable arm of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems pleaded guilty Tuesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center to stealing about $56,000 from the nonprofit.

Laurena Cunningham, 47, of Bangor is scheduled to be sentenced next month, according to Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County.

Cunningham was indicted in June by the Penobscot County grand jury on a charge of theft by unauthorized taking for stealing the money from Healthcare Charities, according to a previously published report.

She was responsible for handing off donations to a courier who deposited the money in the bank, Roberts said in June. She allegedly skimmed off cash donations and made up the difference with check donations she held back from earlier deposits, he said at the time of Cunningham’s indictment.

“By basically juggling checks over a period of time she was able to keep this going,” Roberts said when Cunningham was indicted.

The nonprofit determined that $56,183 in donated funds were diverted between November 2011 and March 2012, according to a press release issued by EMHS in June. The release did not identify Cunningham by name.

Cunningham worked for several years in a clerical position at the Bangor office of Healthcare Charities, which discovered the missing funds in early March through a regular accounting review, according to a previous report.

She faces up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to twice the stolen amount, and being ordered to pay restitution.

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