October 24, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UMass employee pleads guilty to stealing from former employer

Justin Surgent/Collegian

Amy Wing, the executive assistant to the director of Residential Life at the University of Massachusetts, pleaded guilty last Wednesday to stealing approximately $175,000 from former employer Myers Information System Inc.

From October 2009 to May 2011, Wing, 44, of Hatfield, stole the money through numerous fraudulent transactions, including writing company checks to herself, overpaying herself and using company credit cards to make personal purchases, according to an article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Wing worked as a bookkeeper for the Northampton-based company.

During the 19-month period in which Wing – who currently works as Residential Life Director Eddie Hull’s executive assistant– was embezzling money, she was caught by the officials at the company just once, according to the Gazette article.

Upon discovery, she pleaded for a second chance and promised to repay her employers. However, according to court documents, she continued to embezzle from her employer while paying back the amount Myers Information System Inc. had initially caught her stealing.

Wing hasn’t been removed from her position at the University, according to human resources documents. She was hired by the University on Oct. 16, 2011, before her grand jury indictment on Nov. 15, 2011.

The University is aware of the charges against Wing, according to UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski.

Officials in the human resources department yesterday could not comment on if the University has a personnel policy in place that addresses what happens to an employee who is found guilty of a crime while employed by UMass.

Assistant Vice Chancellor of Human Resources Juan Jarrett was emailed for comment about if a personnel policy exists, but did not respond by press time.

Appearing before Judge Mary-Lou Rup in the Hampshire Superior Court on Wednesday, Wing entered a guilty plea to seven counts of forgery of a check; seven counts of uttering a false check; seven counts of larceny of more than $250; two counts of larceny less than $250; two counts of falsifying “entries in corporate books”; and one count each of embezzlement, forgery of a document “for the release of retirement funds,” credit card fraud and identity fraud, according to the Hampshire Superior Court documents.

When Wing appeared in court on Dec. 12, 2011, she pled not guilty to the charges.

At court on Wednesday, Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Matthew Thomas recommended that Wing be sentenced to one to five years in state prison, followed by 10 years probation, according to court documents.

In the Gazette article, Thomas was reported as saying that the “blatant” and “callous” manner Wing stole the money makes jail time appropriate.

Attorney Lauren Follett, who represented Wing, asked for six years of probation, according to the Gazette. Follett, the paper reported, noted Wing’s lack of a criminal record.

Wing is set to reappear in court for sentencing on Jan. 11. According to the Gazette article, the date was set so the probation department would have “adequate” time to review the documents.

Hull refused to comment on the situation, saying that it is a personnel matter.

Wing could not be reached for comment.

 

Katie Landeck can be reached at klandeck@student.umass.edu.

Comments
7 Responses to “UMass employee pleads guilty to stealing from former employer”
  1. Dr. Ed Cutting says:

    OK, NOW she is guilty. And should be fired.
    Or, conversely, every student who has been suspended or expelled for being arrested downtown ought to be reinstated and reimbursed for expenses and damages.

    Enku, it is one way or the other — and she has actually been convicted of something here. And if that doesn’t “reflect poorly on the image of the university”, particularly reflecting on the nature of her position and the level it is at, then I don’t see how you have either the moral or legal right to say *anything* about undergrads who are merely arrested for violation of a muni ordinance.

  2. ASSM says:

    It’s shocking that HR hasn’t taken action at this point. What more do they need? She pleaded GUILTY!!! She admitted to all the charges of wrongdoing. Aren’t they afraid of what she might do while employed at the university? Does she have access to payroll? University credit cards? Grant money? Student fees or fines? Creating purchase orders? She was hired under FALSE PRETENSES. She new what she had done and knew the indictment was coming. It wasn’t even a month from her date of hire … UMASS you are holding all the cards and refuse to play your hand!!!

  3. billz says:

    This isn’t surprising. In the real world, this wouldn’t even be open for debate. But this is Umass….

  4. RS Myers says:

    Just think about the honest and good employees who were forced out of UMass for doing their jobs and did not commit a felony.

  5. UMass Employee says:

    Update: Eddie Hull states ‘Amy Wing best employee I ever had.’ Makes you wonder about his priorities….

    Gazette: Amy Wing sentenced to 90 days jail time…boo hoo.

    NORTHAMPTON— A Hampshire Superior Court judge ordered a Hatfield woman to spend 90 days in jail for embezzling approximately $200,000 from her Northampton employer over several years.

    Judge Mary-Lou Rup actually sentenced Amy L. Wing, 44, to two years in jail, with 90 days to be served and the balance suspended while on probation for 10 years. Wing must continue psychological counseling and cannot work in jobs in which she would handle other people’s money.

    Wing, who was a bookkeeper at Myers Information Systems Inc. on Hawley Street in Northampton, pleaded guilty in November to 29 counts of forgery, larceny, writing false checks, embezzlement, identity and credit card fraud.

    Prosecutors say she stole from the company using a complex web of fraudulent transactions, including overpaying herself up to $2,000 per pay period, forging signatures and altering bills to cover up transactions from retailers like Amazon.com and Victoria’s Secret, among others.

    Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Matthew Thomas argued for a state prison sentence in court Friday where Wing sat across the courtroom from Christ A. Myers, her former boss. Myers had given Wing a second chance after his initial discovery that she stole money from his business by writing checks to herself in 2009. The company, now called Myers, specializes in developing broadcast management software.

    “The case is galling on a great number of levels and I think principle among them is the betrayal of trust,” Thomas said in court. “We have an abuse on mercy that was demonstrated by her employer.”

    Wing had promised to pay back the money she stole and after being allowed to remain on the job, she stole even more money in a “grander and even more egregious fashion,” Thomas told the judge.

    Prosecutors said Wing made more than 500 transactions on company credit cards between October 2009 and May 2011 and altered bills to cover up those purchases. The schemes were detected by an independent auditor that spring while preparing the company’s taxes.

    “It’s a puzzle that took a long time to unravel for prosecution,” Thomas said. “He (Myers) lost weekends, he lost nights. He lost a lot of time to repair the books, to repair the damage that she had caused.”

    Wing’s attorney, Lauren Follett of Springfield, said Wing was struggling with her marriage at the time she was stealing money from her employer, thefts that progressed into what Wing described to her as an addiction, she said. Wing did not speak in court Friday.

    “There was a psychological component,” said Follett, who recommended six years of probation for Wing.

    Follett noted that Wing had earlier repaid $100,000 to Myers but still owes the company approximately $100,000. She reached agreement with prosecutors on a restitution plan, she said, in which she would pay Myers $1,000 per month in restitution.

    Follett argued that a jail sentence for Wing would likely jeopardize her current employment and damage her relationships with her four children, ages 14, 11, 9 and 4 months old, the last of whom is a new child she had with her boyfriend who was at the sentencing.

    After being fired at Myers, Wing was hired by the University of Massachusetts Amherst as an executive assistant to Eddie Hull, the executive director of residential life at UMass, a job that pays about $39,000 annually, according to state payroll records. Follett said in court Friday that Wing’s supervisor at UMass described her as “an exemplary employee, the best he’s ever had,” she said.

    She also noted that Wing, who is college educated and formerly worked in the accounting office of the Gateway Regional school system. has been receiving psychological counseling for more than a year.

    Rup said imposing a sentence was difficult as Wing appeared to be well-educated and had no prior criminal record. She said years of incarceration in state prison did not seem an appropriate sentence and that restitution was paramount.

    “This is one of those cases in which there appears to be no solid explanation,” Rup said of Wing’s fraud. “What is important is that Myers Information Systems be made whole as quickly as possible.”

  6. Steve says:

    Just waiting to hear if this woman is still employed at UMass. She pleaded guilty and is sentenced to jail time. If she sends her 90 days in jail and get to come back to a position at umass I will outraged and so should the community. This is not the kind of image this university should project. She reports to jail tomorrow…

  7. UMass outrage says:

    Unreal, she is driving around in a newer vehicle.
    Did she serve any time?
    What incentive do I have not to embezzle from an employer in the future?

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