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Former JCC bookstore worker accused of embezzlement

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A former book store employee at Jefferson Community College was arrested Tuesday morning on allegations that she embezzled possibly as much as $65,727 from the store since April.

Nancy M. Lear, 41, of 17239 Route 12E, Dexter, was arraigned Tuesday in Watertown City Court on charges of second-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsify business records. She was released without bail by City Judge Eugene R. Renzi, and she faces possible grand jury action on the two felony counts.

Police allege that Mrs. Lear between April 1 and Nov. 28 made false entries of merchandise that did not exist, then pocketed cash for the fake transactions.Police officially set the theft tally in excess of $50,000, but court documents place the amount in excess of $65,000.

Mrs. Lear made admissions to police about the alleged embezzlement, but gave no indication of what she did with all the cash. A police report quotes sources who indicated she made frequent trips to Turning Stone Casino, Oneida County, and also traveled to New Orleans and Florida. Her hourly wage was listed as $17.21.

Mrs. Lear was an employee of the college’s Faculty Student Association, beginning as a cafeteria worker in 1996, police said. By her own recollection, according to a City Court document, she transfered to the bookstore in 2005 or 2006. She was fired Monday, according to the college.

She received an associate degree from the college in May 2011.

“This is an extremely serious and unfortunate situation for any organization to be involved in,” said College President Carole A. McCoy in a press release. “However, I’m pleased with the quick action of the Faculty Student Association, the cooperation of all bookstore employees and the assistance of the Watertown City Police Department in the investigation.”

The FSA is a not-for-profit organization that provides services at the college.

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