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Ex-comptroller guilty of embezzlement

November 18, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

The former comptroller of Hagerstown Paint and Glass Co. admitted Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court that he embezzled $124,916 from the company by cutting himself an extra paycheck nearly every week for five years.

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David Edwin Haupt also stole $2,669.03 from petty cash, $34,855.80 in undeposited income from the retail store, and $5,441.76 in unreported withholding for his company insurance coverage, according to court records.

The total amount embezzled was $167,882.98, according to court records.

Haupt, 48, of 20649 Benevola Church Road in Boonsboro, pleaded guilty to felony theft by scheme and was given a five-year suspended prison sentence Wednesday.

Court records showed that beginning in 1993, Haupt would write himself an extra payroll check each week. When the company computerized its payroll, Haupt would receive a direct deposit payroll check but also would cash a printed check issued by the computer that was supposed to be voided each week.

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The manual petty cash checks simply weren't entered into the accounting system, court records said.

As part of his duties, Haupt would close out the cash register in the retail store each day. When a certified public accountant went over those transactions, shortages were found on 76 percent of the days beginning in early 1997, court records said.

The withholding for insurance wasn't calculated on Haupt's checks during his employment ... checks he was in charge of issuing, court records said.

Insurance coverage has reimbursed $100,000 to the company, according to Washington County State's Attorney Kenneth Long.

That unidentified insurance company has filed a civil lawsuit against Haupt to recoup that $100,000, Long said.

Hagerstown Paint and Glass incurred $30,000 in expenses investigating this case, Long said. Adding that to the remaining $67,882.98, Haupt still owed more than $97,000.

"He paid $30,000 in restitution March 25 and today has a check for $56,000," said Long.

Giving Haupt credit for $1,330.45 owed him by his former employer, Judge Kennedy Boone Wednesday ordered Haupt to pay the remaining sum of just over $11,000 to the company by the spring of 2000.

Haupt will be on probation until all the restitution money has been paid.

Long said Haupt is expected to cash out his retirement plan with the company to complete the restitution.

This elaborate plea agreement was worked out by Long and Haupt's attorney, Lewis Metzner, prior to Wednesday's hearing.

Metzner said the last part of the plea agreement is that there would be no request for probation before judgment now or ever.

"Mr. Haupt has no prior criminal record," Long told the judge. "He was a valued employee but this was a serious breach of trust that has hurt the business."

Metzner, who said he's known Haupt for 15 years, said the embezzlement shocked those who knew and respected him in the community.

Except for answering Boone's questions, Haupt said only that he was "deeply sorry."

"This has been a long, agonizing situation for everyone," Boone said. "You've had to sell your house so I will impose no fine."

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