BARRE — A Berlin woman is facing a felony charge alleging she embezzled more than $10,000 from Central Vermont Medical Center.
Alyssa S. Lothian, 33, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to one count of felony embezzlement. If convicted, she faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Lothian was released without bail or conditions Thursday.
According to the Berlin police affidavit, Jason Irwin, the accounting controller at the hospital, contacted police Feb. 24 to talk about a possible theft. Irwin told police that Lothian, who worked as an accounts payable clerk, had stolen about $11,000 starting in January 2013 by falsifying transaction records and taking the cash received from those transactions.
Irwin told police Lothian’s job included handling money transfers and documenting those transfers into a ledger along with a signed receipt. That receipt would then be entered digitally into a computer system and the hard copy discarded, according to the affidavit.
Irwin gave police an example of a normal petty cash transfer. He told police a department head would request petty cash for supplies or other necessities. Lothian would then create a receipt for the petty cash that both she and the department head would sign.
Irwin told police Lothian was supposed to go into the safe, take out the money and give it to the department head. According to Irwin, Lothian was then supposed to go to the hospital’s credit union and replenish the money taken.
Irwin told police the safe had a normal balance of $1,500.
Instead, police say Lothian was creating false ledger entries for petty cash that departments never asked for or received. Police say the transactions were found to have been done with Lothian’s user name in the computer system.
Irwin told police the accounting software’s security is very strict and the possibility of someone else using Lothian’s user name was low.
Irwin told police that normally only one transfer a month would take place, if that. He showed police a ledger from June 2011 until February. Police say from June 2011 until July 2013 only nine transactions were recorded. After that, there were three in October, four in November, and five each in December and January.
In a sworn statement, Irwin said he spoke with Lothian about the transactions and she said she didn’t know what happened and that the absence of documentation was a “mystery.” Irwin told police Lothian has been fired.
Police say that March 10 they showed Lothian the paperwork they had collected from the hospital and already knew what happened, but wanted to know why.
According to the affidavit, Lothian told police, “Honestly, I can’t tell you. I did do the transactions.”
Police say Lothian said she did not take the money. When asked where the money went, she told police she didn’t know.
As the interview progressed, police say, Lothian said she wasn’t going to admit something she did not do. At that point, police told her they had enough probable cause to arrest her and, since the crime was a felony, she could be jailed immediately.
Lothian told police she was thinking about leaving and speaking to someone about the incident, since she was not yet under arrest. Police then arrested her and told her there were two ways the arrest could go: She could be cited and released or held. Police say they did not make any promises of special treatment to Lothian.
Police say Lothian then said, “What if I tell you I did (the crime)?”
Lothian was then read her Miranda rights, which she waived and spoke with police.
Lothian told police the five-figure amount she was accused of stealing was not accurate, but she did confess to embezzling around $3,000 to $5,000, according to the affidavit. She told police the money was used to pay bills.
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