standing Westerly Police Department Cruiser

WESTERLY — A former employee of the Mansfield Insurance Agency has been charged after an investigation determined that she had altered records in an effort to embezzle about $5,000 from the business, the police said.

The former office worker, Katharine H. Stapleton, 50, of 21 Pearl St., Apt. A, turned herself in to Westerly police on Friday and was charged with embezzlement or fraudulent conversion over $100, the police said.

Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said that Stapleton, who had worked at the business for 12 years as a bookkeeper and administrative assistant, was charged after an investigation founded that about $5,000 had been taken from a cash transfer account. "Irregularities were discovered in records submitted by Stapleton," Lacey said. "In August, Washington Trust notified the insurance agency that an account that normally kept a $5,000 balance was empty. It appears that was the last straw."

Stapleton was dismissed around the time of the complaint, the police said.

Detectives found that she had submitted irregular cash deposits, allowing her to keep some of the cash, over a three month period from May to July, Lacey said. The company had said that its concerns began in May, when Stapleton was slow or non-responsive in dealing with requests for certain reports, the police said. Eventually, the police said, carbon copies of receipts for cash not deposited were located in a desk drawer.

Lacey said the company's policy of keeping $5,000 in a "floating account" that allowed it to monitor irregularities related to cash payments aided in the investigation.

Stapleton was released and is due in Fourth Division District Court for arraignment later this month.

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