NORWAY – Town Manager David Holt said Tuesday that he is offering Community Development Director Deborah P. Wyman a chance to explain to him the accusation that she stole more than $55,000 in town funds.
Wyman is still a town employee, although she has not been paid since late December, when she left the area on a three-month leave of absence.
“I haven’t ended her employment,” Holt said. “Under the laws of the state of Maine, she gets the opportunity to convince me that these charges are mistaken.
“I offer her the opportunity to convince me that what the evidence appears to show is incorrect,” he said.
Wyman, who has been community development director for 20 years, is charged with a Class B felony of theft by unauthorized taking. The 51-year-old Harrison woman is accused of taking the money over the past three years.
An Oxford County grand jury is expected to hear evidence against her this week to determine whether to bring an indictment. Wyman also faces a civil complaint filed by the town that seeks recovery of more than $55,000.
Wyman posted $2,500 cash bail on Monday, allowing her to stay out of jail until she’s arraigned on the criminal charge. An arraignment is expected later this month.
Holt said he has not spoken to Wyman since March 20, when she called him after her arrest warrant was issued to ask what evidence the town had against her.
The warrant was recalled after Wyman’s attorney said she would come to the courthouse when she returned to Maine in early April.
Holt said his ultimate decision about her employment status will not be determined by whether an indictment is brought against her. “They’re kind of separate and parallel,” he said.
Court documents show that Wyman’s apartment at 27 Main St. in Harrison was searched by Maine State Police on March 17. The search yielded miscellaneous ATM deposit receipts and financial documents, statements from KeyBank and Norway Savings Bank, auto loan documents, Wyman’s tax records, a credit report from 1998 and insurance records.
The items were found on a kitchen desk and a bedroom night stand.
Meanwhile, two forensic auditors are examining town and community development grant accounts for the past seven years. Their report is expected to be completed by the end of the week.
Police have said the investigation so far shows that some town funds were transferred into Wyman’s personal checking account at KeyBank.
The investigation began in February when Holt told Norway Police Chief Robert Federico that fraud may have been committed. In January, the town mailed 1099 forms to recipients of a community development block grant to improve business facades. One recipient told town officials he did not receive the funds indicated on the form, prompting Holt to inform police.
Court records state that Wyman left Maine around Dec. 30 to stay with a friend in Fort Myers, Fla., and then take a month-long Caribbean cruise before returning.