Former manager charged with $350K embezzlement

A former Pennsylvania veterinary practice manager has been charged with embezzling over $350,000 following a private audit solutions investigation, as reported by Bucks Local News and WPVI-TV.

Trisha McLaughlin was in charge of several financial processes at the Newtown Veterinary Hospital in Newton, Pennsylvania, from 2006 to 2011, according to Bucks Local News. While the source says she was first taken on by the business in a senior veterinary technician role in 2001, she was promoted to practice manager after five years of employment.

WPVI-TV reports the owner of the animal clinic, Timothy Ireland, terminated McLaughlin's employment in December 2011 after discovering she had taken $3,000 worth of funds that were intended for various business-related purchases, but the investigation that followed revealed many more discrepancies in her spending habits.

The Newtown Veterinary Hospital underwent an accounts payable audit spanning a full year that revealed an embezzlement total of $355,790, according to Bucks Local News. The source says the AP audit was conducted when Ireland was informed by his bank that his former employee had taken $4,700 without his consultation.

With such a large operation to manage (there are ten publicized doctors on staff at the hospital), McLaughlin was able to get away with spending $50,601 at wholesale clubs, purchasing items for both everyday living and entertainment in chunks of $100 to $200. Bucks Local News says she was able to make major charges regularly at these types of businesses because one of her roles as the practice manager was to buy office supplies and items needed for basic medical office maintenance.

In addition to spending funds intended for business purchases on personal investments, McLaughlin allegedly increased her pay as well as that of her husband and a number of other Newtown Veterinary Hospital workers by writing fraudulent checks from the company's account. She also pushed through funds intended to be withheld for health benefits and other company-issued accounts.

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