LOWELL — A Lowell woman will spend a year in prison for embezzling over $182,000 from the veterinary hospital that employed her, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Tuesday.
Sasha Saulnier, 33, was sentenced by a U.S District Court judge on Monday after she pleaded guilty to six counts of wire fraud in January of 2020. In addition to the prison time, Saulnier must pay $182,827.68 in restitution and will be under supervised release for two years after she gets out.
According to the DOJ, Saulnier worked as a client relations specialist for a full-service animal hospital from October 2011 until September 2018, during which time her responsibilities included selling retail products to customers at the hospital.
She also served in a temporary supervisory role that gave her access to management software and allowed her to manipulate account transactions and accounting data.
From March 2014 through August 2018, DOJ officials said that Saulnier entered false refund transactions into the company’s management software and then credited her own debit cards.
Saulnier would sometimes enter bogus refunds for merchandise that a customer purchased but never returned, though DOJ officials said she also fabricated and claimed refunds for purchases that were never actually made.
To try to cover up her crimes, DOJ officials said Saulnier used dormant accounts of inactive hospital clients, such as those with dead pets and “test accounts” set up solely for training purposes. She also fabricated discounts which she applied to purchases of retail products.
According to the DOJ, Saulnier falsified approximately 482 transactions and pocketed more than $182,800, which she used for personal expenses and for trips to places like Las Vegas, New York City and the Bahamas.
The DOJ did not identify the animal hospital.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lindsey Weinstein and Mackenzie Duane of Mendell’s Criminal Division prosecuted the case.