For Immediate Release - July 08, 2014

Former Springfield School Employee Found Guilty of Stealing Thousands of Dollars From Putnam Vocational

SPRINGFIELD – A former Springfield school employee has been found guilty of stealing thousands of dollars from Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.        

Today, after a three-day bench trial in Hampden District Court, Judge Mark Mason found Ann Berry, age 55, of Springfield, guilty of Larceny by Scheme Over $250. Judge Mason then sentenced Berry to three years of probation and ordered her to perform 240 hours of community service. A restitution hearing will be held on August 12 in Springfield District Court.

“This defendant exploited her position to steal money that was intended to go to an educational institution and the students it served,” said AG Coakley. “Her actions affected the school and its students, and she has now been found guilty for her unlawful actions.”

This charge stems from an 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, Berry defrauded Putnam Vocational of thousands of dollars. Berry worked as a teacher and advisor for the Academic Achiever’s Club at Putnam Vocational, which ran the school store.

Berry bought 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 then deposited the profits from the school store into her personal bank account and thereafter used those profits for her personal benefit.

A criminal complaint was filed against Berry in December 2012 in Springfield District Court. Berry was arraigned in January 2013 where she pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Berry was found guilty and sentenced today. A restitution hearing is scheduled for August 12 in Springfield District Court.

In a separate scheme that was also discovered as a part of the investigation by the OIA at Putnam Vocational, Sherry Suber, age 46, stole more than $14,000 from the school. In July 2013, Suber admitted to sufficient facts on the charge of Larceny by Scheme Over $250 and was ordered to pay more than $14,000 in restitution.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Beth Ann Lux of AG Coakley’s Western Massachusetts Regional Office with assistance from Financial Investigator Stephen Bethoney, the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab and State Police assigned to the AG’s Office.

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