Bookkeeper pleads guilty in felony theft scheme case

Amount woman skimmed from boss is in dispute

October 11, 2002|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A bookkeeper for one of Annapolis' largest landlords admitted yesterday to skimming money from her boss' property rental business, but a daylong hearing failed to resolve the thorny questions of how much she took and when.

The issues are crucial because they will determine how much money Heather Myers, 30, is ordered to pay back. The restitution hearing is to resume today.

She pleaded guilty before Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Pamela L. North to running a felony theft scheme. Assistant State's Attorney Clifford Stoddard Jr. contended that she methodically embezzled about $171,000 in rent money from May 1997 to September last year. But her lawyers, T. Joseph Touhey and Joseph H. LaMore Jr., disputed the amount, saying the theft was about $16,000 to $18,000 between October 1999 and February last year.

Stoddard said he will seek a sentence of three to five years, most of it suspended, with a focus on restitution. Touhey said he also would seek a lighter sentence.

Stoddard said Myers was the sole person responsible for recording financial tallies for Ronald B. Hollander's network of several hundred rental units and that she systematically shorted bank deposits, taking cash and money orders for herself.

Hollander testified yesterday that once the books could not be reconciled, he examined four years of records that indicated that "this didn't occur just once or twice. It happened increasingly at the end." Renters were credited for full payments.

And though he said she was responsible nearly all the time for the rent receipts and making bank deposits, Myers, who is to resume testifying today, said others in the office, including Hollander, also were involved in recordkeeping and deciding what deposits would go into banks and when.

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