Amy Wing of Hatfield pleads guilty to 29 charges related to $175,000 theft from Myers Information Systems
NORTHAMPTON — The former bookkeeper of Myers Information Systems admitted Wednesday to stealing approximately $175,000 from the Northampton company through a complex series of fraudulent transactions.
Amy L. Wing, 44, of Hatfield, pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court to 29 counts related to those thefts.
Authorities said she stole from the company initially in 2009. When her actions were discovered she begged for a second chance, promising to repay. But she again embezzled while supposedly making restitution to her employer.
In court Wednesday, Wing admitted to writing company checks to herself, forging signatures, using company credit cards to purchase items from retailers including Amazon.com and Victoria’s Secret, altering bills to cover up the transactions, and overpaying herself up to $2,000 per pay period, all while making restitution to Meyers.
Wing appeared before Judge Mary-Lou Rup and admitted to seven counts of check forgery, seven counts of uttering a false check, five counts of larceny over $250, two counts of larceny under $250, two counts of larceny over $250 by a single scheme, one count of credit card fraud over $250, one count of identity fraud, two counts of falsifying books, one count of embezzlement and one count of forgery of a document.
Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Matthew Thomas asked Rup to consider a sentence of one to five years in state prison, followed by 10 years probation.
Wing’s attorney, Lauren Follett of Springfield, countered with a recommendation of six years probation, noting Wing’s lack of prior criminal history.
Thomas said jail time is appropriate given the “blatant” and “callous” way Wing stole form the company and its CEO, Chris Meyers, in separate schemes.
“She steals from him to pay him back,” Thomas said.
Rup set a sentencing hearing for Wing for Jan. 11, 2013, to allow the probation department adequate time to review all of the supporting documents in the case.
Thomas said that in September and October of 2009, Wing wrote seven checks to herself on the company’s account for a total of about $3,200.
When bank statements revealed the fraud, Wing was fired, but after apologizing, promising to pay the money back and blaming her actions on stress and depression from a pending divorce, she was allowed to remain as company bookkeeper.
Beginning in October 2009 and continuing until May 2011, Wing made 539 transactions on company credit cards and altered the bills to cover up those purchases.
Thomas said the credit card charges added up to about $62,000 once fees and interest were calculated.
Thomas said none of the purchases appeared to be essentials or materials for the company, but instead were luxury items, including lingerie and furniture.
Meanwhile, Wing was also overpaying herself every pay period in amounts ranging from $1,300 to $2,100.
Those overpayments totalled about $93,000, Thomas said.
Wing’s schemes were uncovered in the spring of 2011 when an independent auditor was called in to prepare the company’s taxes for the previous fiscal year and found inconsistencies.
According to Thomas, when the malfeasance was discovered, Wing left a note of apology and a “quasi-confession” before being fired.
Since then, Wing was hired at the University of Massachusetts Amherst as its executive assistant to the executive director of residential life at UMass.
Wing was hired in October 2011, about one month before she was indicted by a grand jury on the charges she pleaded to on Wednesday.
Wing was released on her own recognizance on the condition she continue to report to probation once a week, as she has been doing.