A former employee of the bursar’s office at the University of Maine pleaded guilty Friday at the Penobscot Judicial Center to stealing nearly $250,000 between Jan. 23, 2015, and Dec. 1, 2016.
Amanda Richard, 39, of Old Town was sentenced to six years in prison with all but 32 months suspended, to be followed by three years of probation.
Superior Court Justice William Anderson also ordered Richard to pay
$20,000 in restitution after determining Richard did not have the ability to repay the full amount.
The judge ordered that she begin serving her sentence on Aug. 24.
Richard, who has no criminal history, typically skimmed between $1,000 and $5,000 in cash from payments made for tuition and room and board at the Orono campus, according to Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin, who prosecuted the case.
“The amount of money taken would pay in-state tuition for 29 students and tuition and room and board for 12 students,” Robbin told the judge.
Robbin also said that the university had no insurance to cover the fraud.
Richard’s attorney, Terence Harrigan of Bangor, said that how his client spent the stolen cash had not been discovered.
“One of the big mysteries in this case has been trying find out where the money went,” he said. “There are no boats, no new cars, no high living. Ms. Richard has no assets.”
Harrigan recommend Richard pay $10,000 in restitution. Robbin did not suggest an amount to be repaid.
Richard did not address the judge.
A representative of the university did not attend the hearing.
Margaret Nagle, spokeswoman for the University of Maine, declined to comment on Richard’s plea and sentencing.
In a plea agreement with the Maine Attorney General’s office, four counts of tampering with a public document, a Class D crime, were dismissed.
Those charges weren’t related to theft, according to Robbin. On four separate occasions, Richard unblocked the financial account of a relative so the student could register for classes.
The case initially was investigated by the University of Maine police, who turned it over to the Penobscot County district attorney’s office, Robbin said last year. That office in turn asked the attorney general’s financial crimes unit to handle prosecution.
Richard was indicted last year by the Penobscot County grand jury and pleaded not guilty.
She faced up to 10 years in prison and fine of up to $20,000 on the theft charge.
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