Former Office Manager Gets Jail Sentence for Stealing from Employer

CLEARFIELD – A DuBois woman accused of taking more than $120,000 from her employer pleaded guilty Tuesday in Clearfield County Court.

Cynthia Irene Clinton, 63, 633 Showers Rd., DuBois, the former office manager and controller at Murray Ford pleaded guilty to five counts of forgery and 760 counts each of theft by unlawful taking and tampering with records. She was sentenced to nine months to two years less one day in jail and two years consecutive probation. She was fined $2,162 plus costs. She must submit toDNAtesting at a cost of $250.

As a condition of her plea agreement, she had to pay more than $135,900 in restitution prior to sentencing. Clearfield County President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman stated that he had never seen anyone pay so much restitution upfront. He also mentioned that he had received several letters from people showing their support for Clinton.

Prior to sentencing, Clinton apologized to Murray Ford for violating their trust. She said the situation has caused her shame and embarrassment.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, the investigation began Oct. 24 when Greg Murray, president of Murray Ford, contacted police because a secretary noticed an unusual transaction error on the accounting system at the dealership. After looking into the problem, she contacted the controller who discovered the error was caused by the distribution of money to various departments’ employee benefits accounts. Those errors were tracked to the accounts receivable for personal benefits for Clinton.

Further investigation revealed that Clinton had increased her gross pay without authorization from 2008-2011, and made unauthorized contributions to her retirement account without deducting it from her pay. Cash payments involving car sales were short as was cash involving payments for the service department. She made unauthorized contributions to a Christmas club and an unauthorized vacation account, failed to deduct insurance premiums from her pay from 2005-11, and was making credits for parts and services from the business without deducting it from her pay in 2010 and 2011.

Clinton was described as the sole employee responsible for accounting and bookkeeping at the business including payroll, employee benefit deductions such as the Christmas club, retirement contributions and insurance as well as the day-to-day operations such as processing car sales involving cash.

In an interview with police, Clinton said she didn’t know why she had done it and that she couldn’t stop. She added that she felt responsible for the care of everyone else in her family such as her brother, who is disabled.

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