Rhode Island Boss Accused of Stealing from Town

Known as the “conscience of Town Hall,” the Rhode Island town of Burrillville’s deputy treasurer Sandra J. Stone was charged Sept. 21 with embezzling town funds.  Stone is also a union steward Am. Fed’n of State, County & Mun. Employees Dist. Council 94. Stone is accused of embezzling $925 from the town, but state police say she is the sole suspect in the disappearance of about $20,000 in public funds.

Town Council President Wallace F. Lees said that Stone is the last person he would suspect of being involved in these allegations. Even before she became an AFSCME boss, Stone watched out for other employees; if she thought someone was cheated in dollar value or time off, she’d go to bat for them, Lees said. She is known for having a firm sense of right and wrong, Lees said. And she would be the last person to tolerate embezzlement if the case involved someone else, he said. She’d hang them, he said.

So why would Stone have done something so out of character? According to a state police affidavit filed in court, Stone offered this explanation: The money was there, it looked good, so I took it.

As deputy treasurer, Stone was one of two town officials entrusted with making deposits in the town’s general fund bank account. Auditors have found eight missing deposits over the past two years, and Stone collected seven of those eight deposits, which total about $20,000, the affidavit states. Stone has been charged only in connection with a single $925 deposit. After learning of the missing money, town officials met with Stone on Sept. 15 and placed her on paid administrative leave. [Providence J.-Bull. 9/25/00]