For Immediate Release - March 09, 2011

Freetown Woman Sentenced to Jail for Embezzling Over $200,000 From New Bedford Company

NEW BEDFORD - A Freetown woman has been sentenced to jail for stealing over $204,000 from her former employer, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced today.

On January 21, 2011, Jennifer St. Clair, age 39, pled guilty in Bristol Superior Court to charges of Falsifying Corporate Books (3 counts), and Larceny over $250 by Continuous Scheme. Yesterday, Bristol Superior Court Judge Lloyd Macdonald sentenced St. Clair to serve two years in the House of Correction, one year to serve, with the balance suspended for a probationary period of five years. Judge Macdonald also ordered St. Clair to pay full restitution in the amount of $204,400.

In late October 2008, the Attorney General's Office began an investigation after St. Clair's activities had been discovered by her former employer and referred to the office. For 15 years, St. Clair was employed as an Accounts Receivable Collector for a New Bedford-based produce distributor. Company truck drivers would collect cash and checks from customers each day on their daily routes. Upon returning to the office, the money was routed to St. Clair, who was primarily responsible for preparing the cash and checks for armored car pick-up and deposit in the company's bank account. Investigators discovered that she was also the only person responsible for recording these payments into the company's accounting system. From July 2006 through October 2008, St. Clair stole cash from these deposits by either making only partial deposits or no deposits at all. Investigators discovered that in order to conceal her thefts, St. Clair recorded false entries in the company's accounting system. St. Clair misapplied credits held on larger customer accounts to offset cash payments she recorded as paid but did not deposit.

A Bristol County Grand Jury returned indictments against St. Clair on September 23, 2009. On October 16, 2009, she was arraigned in Bristol Superior Court where she entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. On January 21, 2011, St. Clair entered a change of plea to guilty. Yesterday she was sentenced.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Lee Hettinger, of AG Coakley's Corruption and Fraud Division, and was investigated by Jennifer Chaves of the Attorney General's Financial Investigations Division and State Police assigned to the Attorney General's Office.