For Immediate Release - December 21, 2012

Two Former Springfield School Employees Charged in Connection with Stealing More Than $30,000

Separate Charges Stem from Investigation into Misappropriation of Public School Funds

SPRINGFIELD -- Two women have been charged in connection with separate schemes to steal a total of more than $30,000 from a Springfield public school, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

Sherry Suber, 45, of Springfield has been charged with Larceny by Scheme Over $250.  Ann Berry, 53, of Springfield, has also been charged with Larceny by Scheme Over $250 as part of a separate case.

The charges stem from an ongoing investigation into the misappropriation of funds at the Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy (Putnam Vocational). In the fall of 2010, the Springfield Office of Internal Audits (OIA) began an investigation and full scale audit of the school.  The results of the audit were then referred to the AG’s office for further investigation.

According to investigators, documents recovered from Putnam and the city of Springfield showed that between June 2010 and December 2010, Sherry Suber allegedly used her position as Senior Clerk Typist to steal more than $14,000 from the school.

In her position, Suber was entrusted with collecting the vocational funds from department heads and depositing the funds into the city’s bank account on a daily basis. Investigators determined that Suber deposited less money in the account than was actually collected and delayed making deposits after collection. Suber would allegedly keep some or all of the money from a given day then make up the difference with checks or cash from subsequent deposits. Suber resigned from Putnam Vocational in January 2011.

According to investigators, Ann Berry also allegedly defrauded Putnam Vocational of more than $16,000 through a separate scheme.

Berry worked as a teacher and advisor for the Academic Achiever’s Club at Putnam Vocational, which ran the school store. According to investigators, Berry would buy inventory items to be sold in the store such as bottled water or snack foods using her personal credit card or personal bank account. Berry would then deposit the profits from the school store in her personal bank account. 

Criminal complaints were filed against Suber and Berry Thursday in Hampden District Court. The defendants will be arraigned on January 8.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Beth Ann Lux of AG Coakley’s Western Massachusetts Regional Office with assistance from Financial Investigator Jack D’Isidoro and State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office.

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