Woman Pleads Guilty to Motel Embezzlement
Barnard Resident Faces Prison For Stealing Money in Woodstock
Woodstock — A Barnard woman pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $200,000 over the course of several years from The Shire Riverview motel in Woodstock, where she worked as a bookkeeper.
Pamela Smith, 57, faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for wire fraud. She will be sentenced in Brattleboro, Vt., on July 8.
Smith pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Wednesday, less than a year after she had pleaded not guilty to similar charges in Windsor Superior Court.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples, the federal prosecutor on the case, said the case was dismissed from state court last year after he and state prosecutor David Cahill concluded the “significant embezzlement” would be better tried in the federal system, where the “penalties seem to be more substantial,” Waples said.
In state court, Smith had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison if she were convicted on a felony charge of embezzlement.
“The U.S. attorney’s office has been trying to prosecute as many of those as possible ... for the deterrent effect,” Waples said.
The actual federal sentence will be determined “with reference to federal sentencing guidelines,” according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
“We agreed in the plea agreement to recommend a sentence at the low end of the applicable guidelines,” Waples said.
Smith was released on conditions pending her sentencing.
Messages left with Smith’s attorney, George Ostler, were not returned Monday.
According to the news release and documents filed in Windsor Superior Court, starting no later than 2009, Smith printed and hand wrote checks to herself and had them signed by using a stamp of motel owner Dorothy DiCarlo’s signature. Affidavits and other documents said DiCarlo began to notice something was amiss in March 2013 and she eventually discovered nearly $60,000 in business checks that Smith had made out to herself.
Further investigation revealed that Smith was paying her personal credit cards through The Shire Riverview’s bank account.
She paid more than $6,000 to Comcast Cable, more than $12,000 to Dead River Company, more than $15,000 to Capital One and more than $22,000 to Home Depot, among other transactions, according to court documents.
Smith also stole cash payments made by motel guests, according to the news release.
The case was investigated by the Woodstock Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Maggie Cassidy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3220.