NORWAY – A former office manager has been charged with embezzling more than $16,000 from the substance abuse counseling business where she worked.

Katherine Barrucci, 34, of Bolster Place in Norway, was indicted Thursday by the Oxford County grand jury on charges of theft, forgery, and negotiating a worthless instrument.

Detective Gary Hill said Jennifer Raudonis, the owner of Common Ground Counseling, reported a theft from the business on Oct. 25, 2007. Hill said Raudonis suspected theft of cash paid by clients, and tried measures to stop it, including using receipts and ledgers. Hill said Barrucci left the business after Raudonis questioned employees about the theft.

Hill said Barrucci had worked at Common Ground since 2005.

A total of $16,935.76 was taken from the business between January 2005 and October 2007.

Hill said money paid by clients was kept in a locked file cabinet until Barrucci made deposits.

“There was a major discrepancy between the amounts she was depositing and the amounts she was taking in,” Hill said.

Barrucci is also accused of forging her name on four checks, worth a combined total of $1,104.26, and depositing them to her bank account between April and September last year.

Hill said Barrucci maintained her innocence in the matter, and that none of the missing cash was deposited in her bank account. He said he has not determined what the money was used for.

In an unrelated matter, Barrucci also is accused of cashing several checks from closed accounts at Rainbow Federal Credit Union and Northeast Bank. Hill said the activity was discovered in the course of the investigation into the embezzlement from Common Ground.

Hill said $465 was taken from Rainbow Federal Credit Union and $275 was taken from Northeast Bank. According to the indictment, one $200 check was made out to Barrucci and the other $540 in checks were made out to another individual. Hill said those checks went to Barrucci’s juvenile son.

Hill said no money has been paid back to Common Ground, but that the business has an insurance policy that will cover the theft.

Hill said he has worked on at least five embezzlement cases in Norway in the past two years, and suggested that economic situations may be behind the thefts.

Raudonis was not available for comment on Monday.


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