by: Mike Petchenik Updated:
MILTON, Ga. - Vacations, plastic surgery and car payments are just some of what Alpharetta police said a woman bought with her former employer’s money.
Heather Jaquith, of Milton, faces felony theft by conversion charges after police said she siphoned nearly $230,000 from Scan Stat Technologies, where she was the company’s business manager, police told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik.
“He had given her a lot of trust and a lot of leeway in terms of dealing with vendors, making payments, doing the bookkeeping,” attorney Michael Penn said of his client, the company’s owner. “To find out after the fact that she was taking advantage of the company’s generosity, that certainly hurts.”
Penn said the company officials became suspicious something wasn’t right when they noticed unusual payments.
“There were entries into the bookkeeping system that showed payments to vendors of the company, however, the physical checks were being handwritten to something completely different for her own personal use,” said Penn.
Police told Petchenik this theft is one of the largest embezzlement cases they’ve seen in some time.
“Cruise ship vacations, plastic surgery, purchase of an automobile, tuition payments made for her daughter, cellphone bills, utilities,” said Alpharetta Department of Public Safety spokesman George Gordon. “It’s hard to fathom the lengths this person went to steal that amount of money.”
Gordon said this underscores the need for checks and balances in any business.
“I recommend redundancies in your accounting procedures,” he said. “Have a second person give a look-see at the accounting, what’s going on.”
Penn said the theft had a major impact on the small company.
“Now the company is having to cut some of its current expenses to try to offset some of those losses,” he said, adding that he was hopeful prosecutors would see the case through.
An arrest report said that Jaquith, through her attorney, had attempted to set up a plan to repay the stolen money, but the company refused and contacted police. Jaquith has bonded out of the Fulton County jail. Her attorney, Tom Ford, told Petchenik she would have no comment on the allegations.
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