Press-Republican

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February 26, 2013

Saranac Lake woman guilty of theft loses appeal

SARANAC LAKE — A woman who stole more than $96,000 from her employer and claimed it was a loan lost her appeal in State Supreme Court.

Rebecca Farnsworth, 39, of 92 Wallace Wood Lane, Saranac Lake, was convicted of second-degree grand larceny in May 2010 after a Franklin County jury deliberated for about three hours.

She was sentenced three to nine years in state prison and ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution.

Farnsworth worked as the business manager and bookkeeper at Adirondack Audiology Associates for four years and used the company’s credit card to make $80,000 worth of personal purchases on it from 2004 to 2008.

Prosecutors said she used the card to take trips to Florida, buy groceries and cellphones for herself and family and pay for car repairs.

Farnsworth was also accused of giving herself raises totaling more than $74,000 and falsifying business records to hide it, but she was not convicted on that charge.

‘SHREDDED DOCUMENTS’

She claimed the missing money was a loan, but District Attorney Derek Champagne said her bosses didn’t know about the transactions, and no interest was charged.

In an appeal filed with the Third Judicial District of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, Farnsworth claimed there was not enough evidence presented to convict her.

She said she intended to pay the money back, so her actions didn’t constitute stealing.

But the judges said Farnsworth “made no payments between the time of her termination and the trial, and, a few days after the discovery of her expenditures, she was found shredding financial documents in her office.”

They also pointed to testimony from the business’s owner, Keith Walsh, who testified Farnsworth was specifically told the credit card was for company-related purposes only.

He also told the jury he had given her personal loans to pay for home construction and to help pay her mother’s debts.

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