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August 3, 2010

BOSTON, Mass. - A Watertown woman was charged today in federal court with stealing funds from the Watertown school system and filing false tax returns.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Susan M. Dukes, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Division and Chief Edward P. Deveau of the Watertown Police Department announced today that SHARON CARDARELLI, 51, of Watertown, was charged in a Indictment with federal program fraud and subscribing to false federal income tax returns.

The Indictment alleges that CARDARELLI orchestrated a theft scheme involving the submission of bogus time sheets to the town of Watertown. Since July 2001, CARDARELLI was employed as the Secretary/Comptroller for the Watertown Middle School and among her job responsibilities, she processed the payroll for substitute teachers who worked for the Watertown Middle School. In processing the payroll, CARDARELLI was responsible for preparing substitute time sheets and for authorizing those time sheets once completed and signed by the substitute. CARDARELLI then sent the authorized time sheets to the Watertown Public School, Business Administration Office, where the actual paychecks were prepared and, thereafter, returned to CARDARELLI for distribution. At various times between 2004 and 2010, two of CARDARELLI’s relatives occasionally worked as substitute teachers for the Watertown Middle School. The Indictment alleges that, in carrying out her theft, CARDARELLI prepared and authorized substitute time sheets in the names of her relatives that falsely included hours that they did not work. CARDARELLI then allegedly deposited the payroll checks generated in the name of her relatives on the basis on the false time sheets into her own bank account. Further, the Indictment alleges that CARDARELLI did not report as income on her taxes the money she stole from the town of Watertown using the bogus time sheet scheme.

As Secretary/Comptroller of the Watertown Middle School CARDARELLI was also responsible for forwarding monies raised by student fund raisers to the Watertown Public School, Business Administration Office for deposit into the appropriate student activity account. As further alleged in the Indictment, CARDARELLI kept a portion of the cash raised by Watertown Middle School student activities and made numerous corresponding cash deposits into her own bank account. CARDARELLI allegedly did not report as income on her federal income tax returns the monies she stole from Watertown Middle School student activity fund raisers.

“Ms. Cardarelli’s alleged conduct is an abuse of public trust, particularly given the tough financial times for local school districts.,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

If convicted on these charges, CARDARELLI faces up to 10 years imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the federal program fraud charge, and 3 years imprisonment, to be followed by 1 year of supervised release, and a
$250,000 fine per count on the tax fraud charges.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the Watertown Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Freniere of Ortiz's Public Corruption Unit.

The details contained in the Indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


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