Lowell Woman Charged With Stealing Approximately $182,000 from Employer
BOSTON – A Lowell woman was charged yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with embezzling approximately $182,000 from a veterinary hospital that employed her.
Sasha A. Saulnier, 32, was charged with one count of wire fraud. She appeared in federal court in Boston yesterday and was released on conditions.
According to the charging documents, Saulnier was employed by a full service animal hospital as a client relations specialist from October 2011 until September 2018. During that time, she was responsible for front-desk interactions with clients and managed phone lines, booked appointments and processed retail transactions for items sold at the animal hospital. In this capacity, she had access to a practice management software and the ability to process returns of purchased products and refund the debit or credit card used at the time of purchase.
From March 2014 and continuing through August 2018, Saulnier entered false refund transactions into the company’s practice management software, giving the appearance that a disbursement of money was legitimate. She then concealed the refund transactions so they went undetected by the company. When processing these fictitious refunds, Saulnier credited her own personal debit cards. All of these personal debit cards linked directly to Saulnier’s personal checking account. To do this, Saulnier would occasionally enter a fictitious refund of merchandise that was legitimately purchased by a customer, but never returned, and then credit the bogus refund to her own personal debit account.
In August 2018, thinking a refund was processed in error, the hospital manager confronted Saulnier, who indicated that she may have made a mistake because she was working on two computers and must have entered the information incorrectly. But the company discovered other returns processed to the same debit card number, and before it could complete its investigation, Saulnier resigned in September 2018.
The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 or up to twice the loss involved, restitution and forfeiture. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Office; and Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsey E. Weinstein of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging document are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.