CLEARFIELD – A Grampian woman will spend time in jail for taking more than $45,000 while she was employed by the DuBois Regional Medical Center.
Grace E. Heuser, 43, 24 N. Third St., Grampian, pleaded guilty to 52 counts of theft by unlawful taking. Clearfield County President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman rejected the original plea for a six-month sentence and gave her nine months to two years less one day in jail and two years consecutive probation. She was fined $1,510 plus costs.
The original agreement was that she would serve six months in jail if she paid restitution prior to sentencing and 12 months if she did not. Her attorney, Richard Milgrub, explained to Ammerman that he had negotiated with DRMC’s insurance company, which was owed $45,071 in restitution. They accepted a direct payment from her of $22,534.84. This left Heuser owing only $5,000 to DRMC, which was paid.
A representative of DRMC said that an additional $900 was added to that amount to recover bank costs. She also stated that they were not aware of any negotiations with the insurance company.
Ammerman commented that it was “ridiculous” that you pay someone to do a job and “they rip you off.” He added that he could demand Heuser pay the additional $900 immediately. Instead, he suggested she serve nine months in jail.
After Milgrub and Heuser discussed the offer, she decided to accept the nine-month sentence.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, an investigation began into an employee theft situation at the hospital in early 2012. They suspected Heuser, who was an insurance clerk, had been stealing cash since May of 2010. The initial discovery of a loss was on transactions that occurred on Jan. 31, 2012. She was suspended in February and terminated in March of 2012.
As a clerk, Heuser counted and then listed on a journal tape, all of the checks and cash that were turned in from various departments and the clinics. On the tape, she put checks on one side and cash on the other. All of the money and checks were put into deposit bags that were placed into lock boxes for pick up.
On Feb. 1, 2012 it was discovered that a payment had not been posted to an account. Further investigation revealed that the check had been deposited into DRMC’s account. A review of the records showed that more cash should have been received that day than what was deposited. Checks had been used to offset the actual cash that was coming in. There was a difference that day of $651.75. Only one employee was responsible for the work that day and it was Heuser.
While employees were discussing the missing check, Heuser was present in the room and most likely overheard the conversation. Heuser was off for several days and when she returned she requested to speak to her boss. Heuser then claimed that she thought someone was taking cash and using the checks to make up the difference. She went on to explain exactly how this was happening, which was something the other DRMC employees were still trying to figure out. There were no inconsistencies found on days when Heuser was not working.
Deposits beginning in May of 2010 and running through Jan. 31, 2012 were short a total of $45,071.66.