Michelle Schroeder (Courtesy of the Cheshire Police Department)

Former Southington school board member faces embezzlement charge

CHESHIRE — A former Southington Board of Education member faces a felony larceny charge after police say she embezzled more than $37,0000 from her employer.

Michelle Schroeder, 42, 508 Main St., Southington, was charged Wednesday with first-degree larceny. During her appearance in Meriden Superior Court, she was released on a promise to appear and due is back in court Sept. 3.

According to the arrest warrant, officers were called to All-Tech Sign to meet with owner Kenneth Jackie. Jackie told police he hired an accountant to consolidate business records for a 2013 tax return and noticed payments made to various online vendors. When Jackie called one of the vendors, they said the account was in Schroeder’s name and purchases were delivered to Schroeder’s home.

Jackie hired Schroeder in February 2008 to monitor his financial records, the warrant said. She was given full access to the company’s financial records and the business bank account before she was fired in May 2013.

After Jackie went through all accounts with the accountant and police, they determined $37,739 was missing, the warrant said. Most questionable purchases made with the company debit card were from online merchants and included a large selection of lingerie, the warrant said. Another fraudulent charge was the payment of a cellphone bill for a friend of Schroeder’s daughter.

Schroeder told police Jackie knew about the purchases, which were approved as compensation when the company didn’t have enough money to pay her salary, the warrant said. If the business did not have money to pay Schroeder, using the debit card for purchases would not have worked because the money comes from the same account, police said.

Schroeder was a Board of Education member from 2009 to 2010. She resigned amid allegations that she stole items while on a field trip to New York City in October 2010 with DePaolo Middle School students. Students reported items had been stolen from a street vendor by some of the students and Schroeder. Southington police forwarded information to New York police, who said at the time charges would unlikely be filed unless a vendor filed a complaint.

According to statements in court, Schroeder was convicted of fifth-degree larceny in 1998. Her attorney, Louis Martocchio, a former Southington Town Council member, said his client is a single mother of two teenagers and is employed. Martocchio said he was confident the case would “go away or be greatly diminished.”

The prosecutor said the items fraudulently purchased appeared to be for personal use and “greed rather than need.”

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