Source: Sherman Publications

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Deputy clerk arraigned on embezzlement charges
Paad allegedly stole police funds on top of tax money

by CJ Carnacchio

March 23, 2011

Oxford Village Deputy Clerk Marion Patricia Paad was arraigned March 23 in Rochester Hills 52-3 District Court on charges she embezzled public funds from the municipality in the form of both property tax payments and police funds.

Paad, who's been suspended from her job without pay since late January, is facing five counts of embezzlement by a public official over $50. Each count is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Paad was released on a $5,000 personal bond.

She has a pre-exam conference scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, March 31 before 52-3 District Judge Lisa Asadoorian.

Based on the criminal complaint, it appears that in addition to allegedly embezzling village property tax money, Paad has also been charged with embezzling from the village police department.

Counts 4-5 involve drug forfeiture funds and Preliminary Breath Test (PBT) fee money that was allegedly embezzled by Paad on or about Dec. 15, 2010.

On Jan. 26, two village police department deposit receipts dated Dec. 15, 2010 were discovered at Paad's work station, according to a memo written by village Manager Joe Young. Checks were listed and attached. Cash was also listed, but not present. The total cash on the two receipts was $508.

Counts 1-3 against Paad involve allegedly embezzled property tax money paid in cash by village property owners Susan Bossardet, Salvatore Feliccia and Donn Barber. These alleged embezzlements occurred on or about Sept. 8 and Oct. 27, 2006 and Feb. 21, 2007. according to the complaint.

According to village records, the amount allegedly embezzled was $3,327 based on these three property owners' 2006 tax bills. Bossardet's bill was $1,349, Barber's was $1,401 and Feliccia's was $577.

When Paad allegedly repaid the alleged stolen money to the village, she also paid interest for late payment, which amounted to an additional $219 between the three bills.

The village first learned about Paad's alleged embezzling when Councilwoman Maureen Helmuth informed village Manager Joe Young about it on Jan. 25.

Helmuth told Young, and later village Police Chief Mike Neymanowski, that back when she was the deputy treasurer in 2006-07, she discovered Paad had allegedly embezzled $2,000 to $3,5000 in property tax money paid in cash to the village. Helmuth said Paad told her she needed the money to pay her mortgage because her house was going into foreclosure.

Helmuth admitted she chose not to report the alleged embezzlement at the time and instead, allegedly loaned Paad money from her own pocket to repay the village.

In light of this accusation, Young suspended Paad with pay on Jan. 25. Three days later, the village council changed the suspension to without pay. The Michigan State Police were called in to investigate the matter.

The village subsequently discovered that approximately $5,000 in property tax money paid for the July 2010 tax bill is currently missing.

According to officials, when they searched Paad's work area at the village office, they discovered tax statements marked paid in cash, but the payments had not been posted nor had any money been deposited in village bank accounts.

Even though Paad hasn't been charged with any of the missing $5,000, Oakland County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Paul Walton said if she's convicted of any one of the five felony counts against her, restitution for the $5,000 could still be sought.

"We don't have to charge each and every individual act," he said. "If we can show that she misappropriated these funds at any point during the course of her employment, then it would be fair game for restitution."

"If we (get) her convicted on anything, any one count, and we can show criminal activity in order to obtain these funds, we can legally, under the Crime Victim's Rights Act, go in and say this is the amount of restitution the victim is claiming," Walton explained. "We're going to ask for full restitution."

The loss must be substantiated by the victim. In this case, the village must present documentation as to the amount Paad allegedly embezzled from the municipality.

"If we can show a criminal enterprise and the victim suffered a loss that is going to be sufficient under the Crime Victim's Right Act," Walton said.