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Woman pleads guilty to stealing nearly $800,000 from nonprofit

June 12, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

An Inwood, W.Va., woman pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to stealing nearly $800,000 from a Hagerstown nonprofit organization where she worked, causing a Washington County Circuit judge to wonder aloud where the money went and why the woman had free rein over the company's finances.

Kelley Boyd Macher, 45, of 79 Minnick Road in Inwood, pleaded guilty to one count of theft scheme over $500. Several other charges were dropped.

Macher must pay at least some restitution to Potomac Case Management Services Inc., Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright said. Wright also said he expects Macher will serve some prison time because of the amount of money involved, but added that her sentence and any restitution will be decided following a pre-sentence investigation.

According to the organization's Web site, Potomac Case Management Services Inc. offers help to those diagnosed with mental illnesses and families and senior citizens who need a variety of services.

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Macher was hired by Potomac Case Management Services Inc. in March 2000 and left the organization in August 2006. For four years, she was in charge of all of the organization's financial dealings, Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler said during a statement of facts.

A woman switching bookkeeping software noticed discrepancies and an auditor was brought in, Pauler said.

The organization was missing $213,049.70 from an American Express account assigned to Macher, and $24,299.05 from an Advanta account, also assigned to Macher, according to court records.

The audit also revealed 58 unauthorized checks, totaling $44,417.29, were written to Macher from a Farmers & Merchants Bank account, according to records.

There also were $170,442.46 worth of payments made from the organization directly to Macher's personal banking account.

The amount of money Macher embezzled now is close to $800,000, Pauler said Tuesday in court.

Macher wiped her eyes as Pauler read the statement.

Macher told Hagerstown Police Department investigators that she took the money to support her family, Pauler said.

Wright expressed disbelief - "$800,000 was missing and nobody knew anything about it?" he asked after Pauler completed the statement of facts. "There was no oversight of her?"

Pauler said the state is seeking a prison sentence of between three and eight years for Macher.

Macher was barely audible as Wright asked her routine questions before accepting her guilty plea.

She suffers from anxiety and depression, and has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Macher told the judge.

The pre-sentence investigation Wright ordered will detail information such as Macher's finances and prior criminal record.

Macher has listed her home for sale and is employed, said her defense attorney, Eric Andrews.

As of Dec. 19, 2006, when the charging documents were filed, Macher had reimbursed $9,750 of those funds, according to court documents.

Pauler had asked that Macher begin serving time immediately because no restitution had been paid since December 2006 and having Macher on the street would not be productive, Pauler said.

Wright allowed Macher to go on her personal recognizance.

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