FARMINGTON — The former treasurer of the Share and Care Food Closet pleaded not guilty Tuesday to stealing more than $10,000 from the program between Jan. 1, 2010, and Jan. 30, 2015.

Defense attorney Christopher Berryment entered the plea to the felony theft charge on behalf of Mary L. O’Donal, 74, of Farmington who stood beside him in District Court.

Her next appearance in court is scheduled for Oct. 4.

Assistant District Attorney Claire Andrews asked the court to add a condition of release to O’Donal’s personal recognizance bail that she not act in any financial capacity of any nonprofit organization.

Berryment said one reason he is not arguing the condition is because O’Donal does not intend to act in that capacity.

A condition of release already in place is that she not return to the Share and Care Food Closet on Fairbanks Road in Farmington.


A grand jury indicted O’Donal in August on the theft charge. Farmington police Detective Marc Bowering issued her a summons on the charge in April after conducting an investigation.

O’Donal returned $15,000 to Bowering while he was conducting an investigation into a discrepancy of funds at the closet, according to Bowering.

Representatives of the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office contacted the detective to look into the matter after the missing funds were brought to state prosecutors’ attention by the executive director of the closet.

A substantial amount of money” was missing, Bowering said in July, but he declined to say how much was believed to have been taken or how it was taken.

There is no affidavit in O’Donal’s court file.

A conviction on the charge is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.


O’Donal voluntarily resigned as treasurer of the closet in November 2015, according to food closet Executive Director Leiza Hiltz Scerbo. O’Donal had been treasurer for years, Scerbo said.

The food closet, a project of the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry, serves residents of Chesterville, Farmington, New Sharon, New Vineyard, New Portland, North New Portland and Temple who meet federal eligibility guidelines for food insecurity.

Scerbo changed the accounting practices after she became the director to an approved checks-and-balance system. It’s implemented by a four-person financial team set up to mirror the proposed three-person financial system of the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry.

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