Maine Teachers Union Employee Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

When it came to stealing, Catherine Crosier knew she couldn’t do things all at once.  But doing it often in small quantities wasn’t enough to escape detection either.  Crosier, 45, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on November 27 to embezzling more than $45,500 from the Maine Education Association (MEA), the state affiliate of the National Education Association representing some 25,000 elementary, secondary and higher education employees.  Crosier, a resident of Augusta, pleaded guilty to writing about 180 checks to herself or to petty cash over the period June 2002-January 2004, until she was confronted by her supervisor.


The association’s accounting policy had required that all its checks be supported by a voucher and an invoice or receipt.  Checks for less than $250 could be issued with a computer signature, whereas checks for $250 or more required three signatures.  Crosier admitted writing 144 checks to herself, each for less than $250, totaling more than $35,500.  She registered the deposits in four separate expense accounts to make it appear as though they were for legitimate purposes.  In addition, she cashed about $10,000 in checks made out to petty cash.  Court documents indicate that to conceal her scheme, Crosier volunteered to reconcile the MEA account with the monthly statements and canceled checks.  After that process was completed, she told her boss that the account was balanced, and then proceeded to destroy canceled checks. 


Crosier remains free on personal recognizance bail until her case is resolved.  She faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000, and could be made to pay restitution.  A sentencing date has yet to be set.  (Bangor Daily News, 11/28/06).