DA: Bookkeeper Sentenced for Stealing $866G from Locust Valley Employer

Lori Maceluch Credit: File Photo
Lori Maceluch Credit: File Photo

A Huntington woman has been sentenced for using her position as a bookkeeper to steal more than $866,000 over a six-year period from a Locust Valley architectural firm.

Lori Maceluch, 48, pleaded guilty in January 2014 to one count of second-degree grand larceny and two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree.

Nassau County Court Judge Alan Honorof sentenced Maceluch Tuesday to three to nine years in prison on the top charge and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $866,114.18. She was also sentenced to two to six years for each count on the criminal possession of a forged instrument charge, which will be served concurrently to the top charge.

“Today’s sentence is a reminder that those who deceive and steal money from their employer will face consequences for their actions,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said, in a statement. 

Maceluch was arraigned in July on a grand jury indictment charging her with stealing more than $866,000 over a six-year period.

The Nassau District Attorney's Office said Maceluch disguised the theft by fraudulently enhancing legitimate expenses in the company’s financial records. She used the stolen cash to fund a lifestyle that included dining at expensive restaurants and taking luxury vacations to the Berkshires, Nantucket Island, Fire Island, Florida, and the Dominican Republic

Stephen King March 20, 2014 at 03:45 PM
Unfortunately, this isn't an exception. What's sad is how often this happens to small business owners. The statistics are staggering. Small businesses get ripped off more often because they "trust" one person to own the books. The good news is some basic controls can significantly reduce their risk: 1. Don't ever let the person who writes the checks reconcile the bank account. That's like giving them keys to the vault. 2. Have a copy of your bank account sent to the owner directly, preferably at home, and review all checks and payments. It takes three minutes and that's how you catch surprise bills. 3. Outsource your payroll and make sure the payroll provider requires an owner signature on any payroll changes. Your "spidey sense" should be triggered if the bookkeeper insists on doing payroll themselves. Nobody should do payroll internally. its an easy way to steal from the boss. And, thanks to competition, its really cheap. 4. Don't pay bills with checks. The #1 way people get ripped off because office managers pay their personal bill with a company check. Paper checks REALLY increase the risk of fraud. Use www.bill.com to automate bill payment approval and require scanned images for all invoices to be attached to each bill payment. 5. Separate duties for every transaction into three separate people: approval (owner/manager), record keeping (bookkeeper) and reconciliation (accountant). If you don't have three people on staff, outsource the reconciliation function. You CPA can help you, or an outsourcing firm (full disclosure, I'm CEO of www.growthforce.com - Houston's largest outsourced accounting service). I hope that helps. Learn more at our blog... www.growthforce.com/blog. Stephen King, CPA* CEO www.growthforce.com *GrowthForce is not a CPA firm


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