Brattleboro — A Hinsdale, N.H., woman was in court on Thursday for charges of three counts of embezzlement from a Putney nonprofit.
Patricia Field, 63, was the executive director of Putney Family Services when PFS board members reported documents to Corporal Melissa Evans that showed Field embezzled from 2013 to 2015 a total of $41,034.06 in pay raises, not approved by the PFS Board. Field was terminated from the position on January 8, 2016 and was processed at the Windham County Sheriff's Office on January 22, 2016.
"I don't know why I did this. I have been involved in risky behaviors since my husband's death. I am in therapy. I have moved to a dark side. I am sorry. I am not a bad person," Field said according to a sworn written statement by PFS Board Director Laura Frey.
According to the affidavit of probable cause to arrest, PFS's Independent Accountant Report on Applying Agreed-Upon Procedures showed Field took excess compensation and payroll taxes. In 2013 it was $7,594, in 2014 it was $22,248 and in 2015 it was $11,191.21. According to Frey's sworn written statement, on December 15, 2015, Field admitted to taking extra money as salary in 2015 and apologized to the Board of Directors and said she would pay it back, The Board advised that Field create a repayment plan, but then it was discovered that there was a discrepancy between the approved salary and paid salary for 2013 and 2014. This was when the Board asked for legal support.
It was perhaps the "financial review," conducted by PFS's co-chair and treasurer, Kathleen Clerghorn, that revealed the embezzlement. Clerghorn requested financial documents from Field in September and received them in November.
"Kate had met with Pat and Pat explained it by saying that when she told us that there was money – I seem to remember $6,000 – left from a grant and asked us if we should return it or use it, and we encouraged her to keep it if the terms of the grant allowed it, she had added it to the salary we had authorized," said PFS Secretary, Margaret Cassidy, in a sworn statement. "Kate also told us that Pat had said, 'I can put it back,' which implied that she knew that it was wrong."
Field was arraigned on March 22, 2016 and is scheduled for a final pre-trial conference on October 6, 2016. Each count sees a penalty of imprisonment for not more than 10 years or fined not more than $10,000, or both.
"Pat has systematically stolen an enormous amount of money from our small, local nonprofit — money that our clients need for services and direct help — and she has also stolen much more than money," Cassidy said in the sworn statement. "She has cost the board untold hours of meetings, and unquantifiable concern and turmoil. Most importantly, she has risked the good reputation of Putney Family Services."
Putney Family Services' mission is to "identify and address the factors that promote the healthy development of children."
Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275