BENNINGTON >> A former Career Development Center employee is accused of stealing money she collected through the culinary arts program's weekly luncheons.
Donna C. Maloney, 60, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to a felony count of embezzlement-official capacity. She was released without bail under the conditions she notify the court of her address, keep her court appointments, and not have probable cause found for new charges.
According to the CDC's website, Maloney is listed as a "tech specialist/CDC bus driver." She has spent nine years "working with children at the elementary level with intense needs, 4 years at the CDC in various tech classrooms and bus transportation."
CDC Superintendent Michael Lawler issued a statement on the matter on Monday evening. It reads in part:
"On March 21, 2016 the Regional Governing Board accepted Ms. Maloney's resignation and the District no longer employs her. As a result of the investigation and a full examination of internal controls, further steps have been taken to strengthen and improve the accountability and handling of cash funds within the Center. While the Career Development Center is confident that the investigation revealed the full extent of the fraud, anyone who has written a check to the Center that has not cleared should contact the business office at 447- 0220, ext. 136."
Bennington Police Officer David Faden wrote in an affidavit that on Feb. 5 he responded to the Southwest Vermont Career Development Center where Lawler said he and other CDC employees suspected Maloney had stolen an envelope of money she collected from those buying lunches through the culinary arts program.
For the past five years, the program has put on weekly luncheons which people can buy or take-out.
CDC Assistant Director Margaret Honsinger told police it was Maloney's job to collect money from those buying lunch, place said money into an envelope, then deliver the envelope to Honsinger or to Business Manager Assistant Deborah Carey. If Carey received it, she was to bring it to Honsinger. Both, upon getting the envelope, are supposed to sign it and make a copy.
According to Honsinger, there was no deposit made for the Jan. 22 luncheon. Maloney was asked about this and claimed to have given it to Carey and showed a copy of the envelop bearing Carey's signature. Carey said it was not, in fact, her signature at all.
According to the copy, the envelope was supposed to have $210 in it.
Lawler told police that given the information he had collected up until that point, Maloney was being placed on paid administrative leave.
When Faden interviewed Maloney, at first she denied taking the envelope, but after he outlined the evidence against her she began to cry and said, "I took it."
She said her daughter was late on a car payment and needed help. She said she was sorry, ashamed, and would pay the money back.
On Feb. 24, Faden received an email from Lawler saying that after a disciplinary hearing, Maloney admitted to taking two deposits.
— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115