March 15, 2013

Moriah bookkeeper admits to theft


---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — The former bookkeeper at Bryant’s Lumber of Moriah pleaded guilty Thursday to embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the family-owned business.

Meagan M. Whitman, 29, of Mineville appeared in Essex County Court and accepted a plea to felony fourth-degree grand larceny.

The agreement calls for her to be sentenced to six months in the County Jail and spend five years on probation.

A charge of misdemeanor first-degree falsifying business records will be merged as part of the agreement.

State Police said an investigation showed Whitman took cash and supplies from the lumber yard between August 2008 and March 2010.

She was fired after the owners found inconsistencies in their financial records and called police.

The exact amount Whitman stole will be determined at a restitution hearing later, Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague said after court was adjourned.

Whitman has so far admitted to about $36,000 in thefts, although authorities believe the total is closer to $50,000, the DA said.

Besides cash that customers had paid the business where she worked, Whitman diverted building materials to renovate a house in Moriah, according to court records.

Whitman was arrested in March 2011 and has been free on her own recognizance.

Judge Richard Meyer accepted her plea and continued her release until sentencing on May 16 in County Court.

Meyer told Whitman that she could have received one to four years in state prison for the conviction and cautioned her that that may be her sentence if she fails to appear for any future court dates.

Whitman was represented by attorney Michael J. Muller of Glens Falls; Assistant District Attorney Michael Langey prosecuted the case.

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