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Plumbing worker drains $149,850

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

BY KEITH EPPS / THE FREE LANCE–STAR

A woman who stole nearly $150,000 from a Spotsylvania plumbing company between 2009 and last year pleaded guilty to four charges Tuesday.

Elizabeth Ann Boutchyard, 36, of Stafford was convicted of four counts of embezzlement in Spotsylvania Circuit Court. Three other charges were dropped.

Boutchyard will be sentenced April 17. She was placed in jail following her pleas after Judge David Beck revoked her bond.

According to the evidence presented by Commonwealth’s Attorney Bill Neely, Boutchyard was the office manager for Southern Spotsylvania Plumbing, a 10-employee business headquartered at 97 Matta Way.

Last July 24, Boutchyard went to co-owner Jake Cornwell and admitted that “for about a year” she had been forging the name of his wife—Teresa Cornwell—on business checks.

She was then using the checks to steal from the company.

Neely said Boutchyard came forward only after realizing that she was about to be caught.

Scott Stevens, the company’s certified public accountant, had been trying for weeks to get the company’s 2012 financial records. Boutchyard avoided providing them as long as she could and realized Stevens would discover her crimes once he got them, court records state.

The plea agreement states that Boutchyard tried to justify her thefts by claiming she had been sexually harassed by Cornwell’s 22-year-old son.

She offered not to report the harassment if Cornwell didn’t report her theft to the police.

Cornwell promptly fired Boutchyard and reported the theft to the Sheriff’s Office the same day. Cornwell thought that about $50,000 had been stolen, but an investigation revealed that $149,850 had actually been taken since 2009.

Court records state that there was no evidence to support Boutchyard’s claim about being sexually harassed.

Detective Joe Cagnina interviewed Boutchyard on July 25, the day after the theft was reported.

Boutchyard admitted stealing from the company to support her family and said she had no idea how much she had taken.

Felony embezzlement carries a sentencing range of between one and 20 years in prison.

Attorney Ghislaine Storr–Burks is representing Boutchyard.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2013/02/05/plumbing-worker-drains-149850/

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