For Immediate Release - September 19, 2011

Former Lawrence District Court Probation Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty To Larceny Over $250

Marie Morey, 40, of Lawrence, who admitted to stealing more than $2 million while employed as a bookkeeper in the probation department at Lawrence District Court, pleaded guilty today in Salem Superior Court to larceny over $250. The maximum penalty for that offense is five years in state prison.

Judge David Lowy sentenced Morey to 2 ½ - 2 ½ years and a day in state prison, to be followed by three years of probation on a second count of larceny over $250. She was sentenced to one year in the House of Correction on a charge of filing a false report by a public employee, with that sentence deemed served. She received credit for 653 days already served.

Essex Assistant District Attorney Michael Patten had requested a 3-5 year prison term, with 10 years of probation, while Defense Attorneys John Valerio and Fred McAlary asked the court to impose a prison term of 2 years to 2 years and a day. Restitution will be determined by the court upon her release.

In addition, Morey identified two properties she owns in the Dominican Republic and agreed to cooperate in transferring and conveying those properties to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which will go toward restitution.

Patten told the court that as a bookkeeper, Morey had access and control over significant amounts of cash that flowed into the court on a daily basis, including restitution payments, probation fees, victim-witness fees and other such fees.

She had high-level clearance to the probation department's computerized accounting system, which gave her the opportunity to make adjustments and overrides to probationer accounts while easily avoiding detection.

Moreover, having final access to both cash and money orders on a daily basis, the defendant was able to substitute money orders for cash, pocket the cash, and still maintain what appeared to be accurate final daily balances for bank deposits. Patten said she was able to conceal this ongoing criminal conduct for a period of about 3 ½ years on divers dates from January 1, 2006 through August 31, 2009.

Her scheme came to light after an audit by the Administrative Office of the Trial Court, which prompted further investigation by state police detectives assigned to the Office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.

Patten told the court that if authorized by law, the Commonwealth would have sought a longer period of incarceration.

The Commonwealth's Sentencing Memorandum pdf format of MOREY_MEMO.pdf
is attached to this press release.