The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Embezzlement nets woman prison time
A woman who stole nearly $150,000 from her employer over the past few years was ordered Monday to serve four years in prison.
Elizabeth Ann Boutchyard, 36, of Stafford County was sentenced by Judge David Beck to a total of 20 years with 16 years suspended.
She had previously pleaded guilty in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court to four counts of embezzlement.
According to Commonwealth’s Attorney Bill Neely, Boutchyard stole at least $149,850 from Southern Spotsylvania Plumbing, where she worked as the office manager between 2009 and last year.
Neely said she spent the stolen money on such things as family bills, breast implants and tattoos.
On July 24, according to court records, Boutchyard went to co-owner Jake Cornwell and admitted she had been forging his wife’s name on checks “for about a year.”
She then used the checks to steal money from the company. Neely said more than 100 checks were forged.
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.
Cornwell promptly fired Boutchyard and reported the theft to the Sheriff’s Office. He initially thought about $50,000 had been stolen, but the investigation showed it was much more.
In arguing for a stiff sentence Monday, Neely said Boutchyard’s theft has had a devastating effect on the Cornwells and the company.
He said Jake Cornwell has had to go back to working 60- to 70-hour weeks despite physical ailments.
He also pointed out that Boutchyard had prior embezzlement and bad check convictions.
A sobbing Boutchyard, who was represented by attorney Ghislaine Storr Burks, expressed remorse for her actions and asked for mercy.
Beck also ordered Boutchyard to make restitution of $108,749 to the Cornwells and $39,568 to Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. as part of the conditions of the suspended portion of her sentence.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404