Saranac Lake Woman Guilty of Theft Loses Appeal | Local News
SARANAC LAKE – A woman who stole more than $ 96,000 from her employer and claimed it was a loan lost her appeal in the state’s Supreme Court.
Rebecca Farnsworth, 39, of 92 Wallace Wood Lane, Saranac Lake, was convicted of second degree robbery in May 2010 after a Franklin County jury deliberated for about three hours.
She was sentenced to three to nine years in state prison and ordered to pay $ 150,000 in restitution.
Farnsworth worked as a business manager and accountant at Adirondack Audiology Associates for four years and used the company’s credit card to make personal purchases worth $ 80,000 from 2004 to 2008.
Prosecutors said she used the card to travel to Florida, buy groceries and cell phones for herself and her family, and pay for repairs to her car.
Farnsworth was also charged with granting herself increases totaling more than $ 74,000 and falsifying business records to hide it, but she was not convicted of the charge.
She claimed the missing money was a loan, but District Attorney Derek Champagne said her bosses were unaware of the transactions and no interest was charged.
In an appeal filed with the Third Judicial District of the State Supreme Court’s Appeal Division, Farnsworth claimed there was not enough evidence presented to convict her.
She said she intended to return the money, so her actions did not constitute theft.
But judges said Farnsworth “had made no payment between the time of her dismissal and trial, and within days of discovering her expenses, she was found shredding financial documents in her office.” .
They also pointed to testimony from business owner Keith Walsh who said Farnsworth was specifically told that the credit card was for business purposes only.
He also told the jury that he gave her personal loans to pay for the construction of a house and to help pay off his mother’s debts.
Prosecutors said Farnsworth made more than 400 purchases and cash advance transactions totaling $ 80,000 and $ 21,000 in gasoline purchases and $ 6,000 in phone bills.
At the same time, she gave herself annual pay increases, they said.
Her annual salary rose from $ 35,000 in 2004 to $ 43,000 in 2005, then to $ 58,000 in 2006 and $ 61,000 in 2007. She reportedly earned $ 74,000 in 2008, but was laid off in February.
Walsh said employees typically received a 3% annual raise in August and a Christmas bonus.
Farnsworth, who was paroled in September 2012, also claimed her sentence was excessive and severe.
But judges said the jail sentence set by county court judge Robert G. Main Jr. was appropriate.
The letters he received before sentencing described Farnsworth as a hardworking and dedicated mother of two young children, and she had no criminal record.
The Court of Appeal said that Main “weighed these factors against the magnitude of the deception involved in the theft – over the course of several years – of such a sum of money from a small health care practice. whose owners trusted him and helped him “.
Email to Denise A. Raymo: [email protected]