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Even small embezzlements add up for guilty library worker

American children are taught that saving even small amounts will add up eventually. However, the story of a Yonkers, New York, library worker was probably not what Benjamin Franklin had in mind when he coined the saying, "A penny saved is a penny earned." The 54-year-old-woman, a long-time employee of the Yonkers Public Library, pled guilty to embezzling $163,582 from library fines over a seven-year-period.

The library employee, who was responsible for depositing fine money with the city's finance department, had altered fine records to lower amounts and pocketed the difference. She was sentences to six months in the Westchester County Jail, five years of probation, and will be required to make restitution. The prosecution had requested a state prison sentence for the grand larceny and for filing false tax returns; a state sentence would have been at least one year.

The employee was a frequent visitor to Atlantic City, New Jersey and an enthusiastic Lotto player. The amounts stolen each time were relatively modest, and were apparently used to finance the employee's gambling addiction. She had no prior criminal record, and was a respected and popular worker.

The Yonkers Public Library collects approximately $400,000 in fines each year - 10 cents a day for most overdue items, and 50 cents a day for new titles. The theft was discovered by a new business manager who realized that the paper fine records had been altered with correction fluid. The library director noted that had the new business manager not been hired, the thefts could have continued for years. He also stated that the library will be reviewing its procedures to prevent incidents like this from happening in the future.

Source: HeraldNews, "Worker gets prison time after embezzling library fines for years," Juine 21, 2012.

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