AUBURN — A Harpswell woman who pleaded not guilty to stealing $80,000 from the Ramada Inn in Lewiston is being held on $250,000 cash bail.
Carrie Richardson, 38, was indicted by an Androscoggin County grand jury earlier this month on a felony count of theft by unauthorized taking, a Class B charge, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or up to a $20,000 fine.
Richardson was ordered, if released on bail, not to return to the Ramada Inn nor have contact with George Gendron, the hotel's owner.
She is represented by a court-appointed attorney.
Over one year, starting in January 2012, Richardson embezzled $80,000 from the hotel, where she worked as bookkeeper, according to an affidavit written by Lewiston Detective Robert Morin and filed in Androscoggin County Superior Court.
An auditor consultant discovered the discrepancy after he was hired to make projections about the hotel's earnings in the upcoming year.
A portion of the stolen money – roughly $16,000 – came from vendor checks Richardson stole, wrote to herself, stamped with Gendron's signature, then cashed, the affidavit said.
The rest of the stolen money came from cash that she failed to deposit more than 100 times at the hotel's bank, and pocketed instead, court records said.
Richardson, along with her family, reportedly fled authorities in California in connection with similar charges. They left behind all of their belongings, including their pets.
She is accused of stealing nearly $100,000 from the Escondido Pop Warner Youth Football Program while she was serving as treasurer in 2011. She also is accused of taking about $50,000 in 2011 from North Country Yamaha, also in California, where she worked as a bookkeeper for nearly eight years.
Morin found the California charges against Richardson in a Google search, then matched an online photo to her Dec. 13, 2011 Maine driver's license photo.