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Dexter woman gets probation for $65K theft from JCC bookstore


A former worker at the Jefferson Community College bookstore was sentenced Tuesday in Jefferson County Court to five years’ probation for stealing more than $65,000 from the store.

Nancy M. Lear, 41, of 17239 Route 12E, Dexter, also was ordered to pay a remaining $47,419 in restitution after having paid just over $18,000 in restitution before sentencing. She also was ordered to work weekends at the Metro-Jefferson Public Safety Building for the next four months.

She pleaded guilty April 15 to third-degree grand larceny, admitting that while working for the college’s Faculty Student Association, a nonprofit organization that operates the store, she stole $65,727. Officials said at the time of her arrest that she was issuing false refunds to herself.

Mrs. Lear made admissions to police about the embezzlement at the time of her arrest, but gave no indication of what she did with all the cash. A police report quoted 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.

Police were asked to investigate on Dec. 1 after David J. Schissler, Faculty Student Association executive director, conducted an inventory with new computer software that had been installed in April. Older software had failed to indicate why in recent years the store was suffering “write-offs” approaching $100,000.

The inventory that day revealed a $79,219.66 loss since April, and also indicated that most of the transactions occurred between 6 and 7 a.m., while Mrs. Lear was working alone, according to the court file.

Mrs. Lear became ill on the day of the inventory after being confronted about the lost money, a police report said.

Mr. Schissler explained to police that a book already in stock was scanned into the computer as if it were an item being returned. That would enable the clerk to remove the cash value from the money drawer and pocket it.

While processing the bogus refund, she had to enter a nine-digit student identification number. Made-up numbers were entered, but no red flags turned up because the store’s computer is not linked to the college’s computer system, Mrs. Lear told police in her sworn statement.

She estimated that she recorded false refunds two or three times a week, doing two to four books each time. At that pace, she was pocketing $200 to $300 per week, she said in the document.

The new software installed in April will prevent thefts of the type for which Mrs. Lear was convicted, school officials have said.

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