AUBURN — A husband and wife accused last month of stealing from an agency that serves people with developmental disabilities denied the charges Thursday in Androscoggin County Superior Court.
Terri L. Arsenault, 40, of 248 Pleasant St., Mechanic Falls, pleaded not guilty to a pair of felony counts of theft by deception.
Her husband, Michael, 43, pleaded not guilty to a single charge of felony theft by deception.
The couple was allowed to remain free on personal recognizance following the Thursday morning arraignment. Each was indicted in June.
According to court papers, Terri Arsenault committed theft by taking money from the trust account of a resident at one of the John F. Murphy group homes in Mechanic Falls where she served as administrator. She also diverted money to herself from the John F. Murphy Homes commercial credit card, the indictment said.
She stole from one or both from April 12, 2007, to Nov. 15, 2008, one week after she resigned from her job as administrator, the indictment said. She was hired in September 2003. The total amount she is accused of stealing is more than $10,000, court papers say.
The Arsenaults also were indicted on separate counts of theft in which they are accused of stealing more than $1,000 between June 25, 2007, and Aug. 25, 2008, in a scheme that reportedly billed John F. Murphy Homes for services performed by J&M Property Maintenance, though they knew it wasn't true. Michael Arsenault is reportedly affiliated with J&M Property Maintenance.
The Maine Attorney General's Office investigated the Arsenaults and is prosecuting the cases because John F. Murphy Homes receives MaineCare money.
Terri Arsenault is a longtime member of the Mechanic Falls School Committee and since 2010 has served on the RSU 16 School Committee, which is responsible for schools in Mechanic Falls, Minot and Poland. Her term expires in a year.
School Committee Chairwoman Mary Ella Jones has declined to comment on the charges, although she said she didn't believe they had anything to do with committee business and didn't expect them to be discussed at a future meeting.
Following the indictments in June, RSU 16 Superintendent Michael Wilhelm echoed Jones' comments, calling the indictment a "personal matter."
This story was updated at 9:47 a.m.