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Amy L. Wing of Hatfield gets jail time for $200,000 fraud

  • <br/>Amy L. Wing during her sentencing Friday afternoon at Hampshire Superior Court.<br/>
  • <br/>Amy L. Wing during her sentencing Friday afternoon at Hampshire Superior Court.<br/>
  • <br/>Amy L. Wing during her sentencing Friday afternoon at Hampshire Superior Court.<br/>

— A Hampshire Superior Court judge ordered a Hatfield woman to spend 90 days in jail for embezzling approximately $200,000 from her Northampton employer over several years.

Judge Mary-Lou Rup actually sentenced Amy L. Wing, 44, to two years in jail, with 90 days to be served and the balance suspended while on probation for 10 years. Wing must continue psychological counseling and cannot work in jobs in which she would handle other people’s money.

Wing, who was a bookkeeper at Myers Information Systems Inc. on Hawley Street in Northampton, pleaded guilty in November to 29 counts of forgery, larceny, writing false checks, embezzlement, identity and credit card fraud.

Prosecutors say she stole from the company using a complex web of fraudulent transactions, including overpaying herself up to $2,000 per pay period, forging signatures and altering bills to cover up transactions from retailers like Amazon.com and Victoria’s Secret, among others.

Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Matthew Thomas argued for a state prison sentence in court Friday where Wing sat across the courtroom from Christ A. Myers, her former boss. Myers had given Wing a second chance after his initial discovery that she stole money from his business by writing checks to herself in 2009. The company, now called Myers, specializes in developing broadcast management software.

“The case is galling on a great number of levels and I think principle among them is the betrayal of trust,” Thomas said in court. “We have an abuse on mercy that was demonstrated by her employer.”

Wing had promised to pay back the money she stole and after being allowed to remain on the job, she stole even more money in a “grander and even more egregious fashion,” Thomas told the judge.

Prosecutors said Wing made more than 500 transactions on company credit cards between October 2009 and May 2011 and altered bills to cover up those purchases. The schemes were detected by an independent auditor that spring while preparing the company’s taxes.

“It’s a puzzle that took a long time to unravel for prosecution,” Thomas said. “He (Myers) lost weekends, he lost nights. He lost a lot of time to repair the books, to repair the damage that she had caused.”

Wing’s attorney, Lauren Follett of Springfield, said Wing was struggling with her marriage at the time she was stealing money from her employer, thefts that progressed into what Wing described to her as an addiction, she said. Wing did not speak in court Friday.

“There was a psychological component,” said Follett, who recommended six years of probation for Wing.

Follett noted that Wing had earlier repaid $100,000 to Myers but still owes the company approximately $100,000. She reached agreement with prosecutors on a restitution plan, she said, in which she would pay Myers $1,000 per month in restitution.

Follett argued that a jail sentence for Wing would likely jeopardize her current employment and damage her relationships with her four children, ages 14, 11, 9 and 4 months old, the last of whom is a new child she had with her boyfriend who was at the sentencing.

After being fired at Myers, Wing was hired by the University of Massachusetts Amherst as an executive assistant to Eddie Hull, the executive director of residential life at UMass, a job that pays about $39,000 annually, according to state payroll records. Follett said in court Friday that Wing’s supervisor at UMass described her as “an exemplary employee, the best he’s ever had,” she said.

She also noted that Wing, who is college educated and formerly worked in the accounting office of the Gateway Regional school system. has been receiving psychological counseling for more than a year.

Rup said imposing a sentence was difficult as Wing appeared to be well-educated and had no prior criminal record. She said years of incarceration in state prison did not seem an appropriate sentence and that restitution was paramount.

“This is one of those cases in which there appears to be no solid explanation,” Rup said of Wing’s fraud. “What is important is that Myers Information Systems be made whole as quickly as possible.”

Dan Crowley can be reached at dcrowley@gazettenet.com.

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