By Lisa Redmond
WOBURN -- A former office manager at a Pepperell veterinary office has been placed on five years probation and must pay $50,000 in restitution after she pleaded guilty to multiple larceny charges.
Suzette Richard, of 19 Cranberry St., Pepperell, pleaded guilty in Middlesex Superior Court on Thursday to five counts of larceny over $250 from a person over 60 for embezzling funds between 2009 and 2011 from her employer, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's Office.
Richard was ordered to pay $300 per month in restitution with the understanding that her probation can end early if she pays the restitution quicker.
In a lawsuit filed in January 2012 against Richard, John Lindermuth, owner of Preventative Veterinary Medicine Inc. in Pepperell, said that for 20 of his 26 years in business, he employed Richard. She started off as a clerical helper and progressed to office manager.
As part of her responsibilities, Richard was responsible for maintaining the company's bank accounts, general office management and other related administrative duties, the lawsuit states.
"Over the years Ms. Richard became a very trusted employee, who I relied on almost exclusively ...,'' Lindermuth wrote. She performed her job with "very little observation or supervision by me,'' he wrote.
In August 2011, Lindermuth's daughter began to help her father with certain administrative duties at the veterinary clinic. Those duties included reviewing bank accounts and other financial records of the clinic.
Due to the review, Lindermuth was notified that many of the 2011 bank statements and credit-card statements managed by Richard had several thousand dollars worth of charges for services and goods that had nothing to do with the clinic and appeared to be for Richard's personal use.
Lindermuth alleges Richard stole tens of thousands of dollars from his business from 2009 until she was fired on Oct. 28, 201l. On May 16, 2012, Richard was charged with larceny.
Lindermuth wrote that Richard allegedly opened a BJ's account, representing herself as owner of the veterinary clinic and charging several thousand dollars worth of merchandise for her benefit.
Lindermuth said he accidentally found the BJ's card when it was left at the clinic. The card lists a "member-since" date of 1999.
In reviewing the clinic's computer records, Lindermuth and his daughter found Richard used multiple passwords and changed those passwords often in performing myriad account transfers to allegedly cover her actions.