Former Mass. law firm bookkeeper accused of embezzling funds

At small companies that run on tight budgets and have only a few employees, it can be difficult to find the time required to keep a close eye on internal finances. However, the ease with which fraud can be perpetrated at such firms came clearly into focus recently, as a yet another long-standing employee at a locally operated business was accused of fraud.

According to The Recorder, Melissa Wright of Greenfield, Mass., has been charged with embezzling nearly $450,000 in funds that belonged to the law practice of local attorney Mark Berson, her former employer. In an interview with the source, District Attorney Steven Gagne claimed that the alleged crimes took place during a period of just over four years, between January 2008 and February 2012. 

"Attorney Berson has a very robust law practice," Gagne told the news source. "Unfortunately, the theft went undiscovered."

Had accounts payable audits been put in place, the 39-year-old woman's alleged crimes might have been detected sooner.

"He had noticed some irregularities in his payroll and bookkeeping, both of which Melissa Wright had access to," Gagne told The Recorder.

The Associated Press reported that Wright pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include larceny and forgery of checks, and was subsequently released on personal recognizance.

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