Vet’s bookkeeper gets two years probation for embezzlement
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A bookkeeper who admitted stealing from the Carbondale veterinary clinic where she worked was sentenced to two years of probation on Tuesday, to the dismay of some courtroom observers.
Suzan Wilson, 39, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft under a plea bargain with the district attorney’s office, and was sentenced by Judge James Boyd as veterinarian Cynthia Wallis and a group of her supporters watched.
In addition to probation, Wilson was ordered to pay more than $16,000 in restitution to Wallis.
“I trusted her completely, and she betrayed that trust,” said Wallis, owner of the Natural Vet clinic in Carbondale.
She said she and Wilson became close friends and confidantes over the years Wilson worked at the clinic, first as a veterinary technician and later taking on bookkeeping duties as well.
Wilson was fired in August 2011 over allegations that she had used the company credit cards without authorization to pay for personal purchases.
According to documents in the court file, following an investigation into the clinic’s finances, Wilson was charged with unauthorized use of the clinic’s credit card, as well as theft and forgery.
Wallis told the judge that Wilson also stole cash, including money intended for Wallis’ retirement fund.
Hired to take care of the business end of the clinic, Wilson left the business records in such a mess that Wallis’s credit was ruined and her office telephone was nearly disconnected for nonpayment, according to testimony and court records.
Wallis said Wilson neglected to return calls from clients, which undermined the business’ reputation and drove clients away.
Defense attorney Dan Shipp, in remarks to the judge prior to announcement of the sentence, noted that Wilson, a valley native, had no prior criminal record.
He said she took over the bookkeeping tasks as a temporary favor to Wallis, and that she was undergoing considerable family stress over her mother’s illness at the time the thefts took place in late 2010 and early 2011.
Shipp said Wallis was unsympathetic about Wilson’s personal problems and refused Wilson’s requests for time off to visit her mother.
His remarks drew gasps and angry muttering from Wallis’ group of family, clients, fellow vets and friends, who reportedly came from as far away as Eagle, Woody Creek and Grand Junction.
Deputy District Attorney Anne Norrdin told the judge that Wilson never accepted responsibility for her actions, in which she deceived her long-time friend and employer and nearly ruined the business.
And despite her arrest and conviction, Wallis said of Wilson, “She continues to lie about what she did.”
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