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

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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.

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