Share This Page

Uniontown company sues bookkeeper, claims she overpaid herself $425K

| Friday, June 20, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

A Uniontown company that sells heavy-duty truck parts is seeking to recover $425,566 from a Westmoreland County woman through a civil lawsuit that contends she paid herself for hours she never worked while employed as the company's bookkeeper for 14 years.

In the civil complaint filed in the Fayette County Prothonotary's Office, Uniontown Auto Spring Company contends Mary Smith of South Huntingdon obtained the cash between 2000 and 2013 by falsifying payroll records. Smith served as the bookkeeper and office manager from December 1999 until her termination in May 2013, the lawsuit states.

Smith did not return a phone call seeking comment on Thursday.

No criminal charges have been filed against Smith. Court records do not list an attorney for her.

Michael Marinich, the company's vice president, declined comment when asked whether police had been asked to investigate.

The Fayette County District Attorney's Office on Thursday was unaware of the allegations against Smith, according to spokesman Ryan Clark.

The lawsuit accuses Smith, who had sole control of payroll records, of crediting herself for time not worked, including overtime pay and for hours when she was off work, left early or was on vacation.

When the company in April 2013 experienced low profit margins, despite consistent sales, its accountant “alerted it to issues” with payroll.

When confronted, Smith acknowledged “falsifying the payroll records” and crediting herself for “excessive overtime,” the lawsuit states. She offered to repay the money and to undergo counseling “to address her stealing,” it says.

Smith was let go and, after the company “meticulously scrutinized” its financial records, it was discovered she “had been misappropriating funds” since April 2000, the lawsuit contends.

The company wants Smith to pay $425,566 in damages and expenses, and to pay its attorneys' fees.

In addition, it wants a judge to order Smith to list all real and personal property purchased with the allegedly misappropriated money during the past 14 years, and to issue an injunction prohibiting her from disposing of the assets as the case is litigated.

Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.