Former bookkeeper pleads guilty

DORSET - A former employee of the Dorset Field Club has pleaded guilty to charges of interstate transfer of stolen property.

Diane Schmaler, the former bookkeeper and manager of finance for the club allegedly embezzled $60,000 beginning in late 2007 until June 2013, according to a one-count court document filed by the federal district attorney's office for Vermont on April 29.

Gregory L. Waples, the assistant United Sates Attorney said Schmaler and the United Sates had reached a plea agreement.

"She decided to waive indictment and plead guilty to the charges that charged her with interstate transfer of stolen property," he said.

Schmaler will be sentenced at a later date, but Waples said because she decided to plead guilty, her sentence will be less severe than might have been the case without the guilty plea. But, Waples said the terms of the sentence are up to a probation officer and the court.

According to court documents, Schmaler forged checks from the club or issued payroll checks in excess of her authorized compensation.

"In the course of this fraud, Schma ler caused funds to be embezzled from the Dorset Field Club's Vermont Bank Account to be deposited into her personal bank account in New York," the documents read. "The defendant Diane Schmaler transferred in interstate commerce, from Vermont to New York, money having a value of $5,000 or more, knowing that money had been stolen, concerted and taken by fraud."

The Dorset Field Club had a bank account at the Berkshire Bank's Dorset branch office. Schmaler had a personal account at TD Bank in New York State.

Schmaler embezzled the field club's funds by causing the club, without authorization, to issue checks payable to herself, then negotiating those checks for her own benefit, according to the court documents.

She also had the club issue payroll checks to her in excess of her authorized compensation, and conceal this by falsifying entries in the club's general ledger.

Troy Sprister, general manager of the Dorset Field Club, said they had been instructed not to comment on any matter relating to the case. Robert F. O'Neill, an attorney with Gravel & Shea PC in Burlington is representing Schmaler. A call to his office for a comment was not returned as of press time.


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