An Atlantic Beach woman pleaded not guilty Thursday at Nassau First District Court to charges she stole more than $250,000 from her previous employer, a Nassau County architectural firm.
Doreen Goucher, 62, was arrested early Thursday morning by Nassau County DA Investigators. Prosecutors allege Goucher used her position as a bookkeeper to withdraw $258,731 from the bank account of her employer between June 2006 and December 2011. Her position gave her unrestricted and unsupervised access to the bank accounts, where she allegedly removed the cash “without permission or authority from her employer,” a news release said.
According to prosecutors, Goucher forged her employer’s signature on 116 checks and then “used those checks to pay off her personal credit cards and a home equity loan.” In an attempt to disguise the thefts, Goucher created unauthorized personal credit and loan accounts, which appeared to be legitimate company accounts, the DA said. She also used the money to pay for “dinners at expensive restaurants, shopping, and lavish vacations,” said prosecutors.
An internal audit of the company’s finances was performed last year and the discrepancies were discovered, the district attorney said. The case was then turned over to the DA’s office for investigation in January 2012. The 14-year employee was fired in December 2011.
“Ms. Goucher lived the high life on her boss’s dime, but her arrest was guaranteed once she wrote that first phony check,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. “Workplace theft victimizes every employee and every customer by driving up costs and reducing revenues, and my office will continue to work with businesses to ensure that internal thieves are arrested and brought to justice.”
Goucher was charged with second-degree grand larceny and was released on $10,000 bond after her Thursday arraignment. If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison. She is due back in court on March 14.