Saturday, June 2, 2007

Bookkeeper admits theft from office

A Dunmore woman employed as a bookkeeper at a local medical practice will pay back more than $200,000 she admitted stealing on the job.

Catherine Aydin, 40, was in federal court Friday to plead guilty to forging and cashing checks from Regional Foot and Ankle Center in Scranton. She faces 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

The center’s owner, Elmo Baldassari, D.P.M., said it’s likely Ms. Aydin stole $400,000 or more since 2000. Ms. Aydin’s attorney, William Peters, said the amount is somewhere on the “low side of $200,000 to $400,000.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis Sempa said the exact amount of money she’ll have to pay back will be determined before she’s sentenced in late August.

An internal audit done at the medical center in fall 2006 uncovered several checks that had been forged between January 2000 and October 2006, according to Mr. Sempa.

When confronted by FBI investigators, Ms. Aydin admitted to forging checks to herself and for cash. She said she used some of the money to pay off credit card bills and other household expenses.

“It was certainly regrettable on her part,” Mr. Peters said Friday afternoon. “ She’s very sorry. If she could turn back the clock, she would.”

In court Friday, Ms. Aydin answered U.S. District Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie’s questions in a soft voice.

After Mr. Sempa summarized the details of the case, the judge asked Ms. Aydin how she pleaded. “Guilty, your honor,” she said simply.

Ms. Aydin will remain free pending sentencing.

No comments: