Bookkeeper suspected of stealing more than $200K from shipping companies
Published: October 19, 2013
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ST. CROIX - A 43-year old woman remains jailed after being arrested on charges that she stole more than $200,000 in 2010 from a local shipping company that she has worked with for more than 20 years.
Barbara Maximin, who now resides in Florida, made her initial court appearance Friday morning before Magistrate Jessica Gallivan to be advised of her rights on charges of embezzlement by fiduciaries; embezzlement by agent; forgery; obtaining money under false pretense; grand larceny; and running a criminally influenced and corrupt organization.
According to the affidavit in support of the warrant for her arrest filed by V.I. Police Detective Mark Corniero, executives of O'Neale's Transport and Crowley Corporation contacted police reporting that an employee may have been involved in stealing money from the company.
According to the court documents, Maximin was responsible for making collections and deposits for O'Neale's, where she worked for more than 20 years and was the sole handler of the Crowley account for the last 10 years.
Executives became concerned in December 2010 when an audit was conducted and $137,000 was missing from the company, Corniero said in his report.
For two days after the discovery, Maximin worked with company officials to help locate a paper trail to lead to the missing money, and on the third day Maximin did not show up for work, Corniero said.
Suspicions first were raised when some customers began complaining that they had been receiving duplicate bills for the same service, even after they had paid, according to the affidavit.
According to court documents, when Maximin abandoned the job, her employers searched her desk and found a cash deposit bag that contained more than $1,700 and had no documentation or deposit slips that would indicate to which customer account the money was to be paid.
Maximin subsequently was brought in for questioning by her employers, who said they were trying to determine how much money was unaccounted for and what had really happened to it.
According to the affidavit, they reported to police that Maximin admitted to being responsible for some of the money being gone, saying that she had done favors for friends and had released some cargo without collecting the shipping fees that were due.
She attributed some of the other missing funds to errors she may have made because of her poor accounting skills, according to Corniero's report.
The report states that Maximin admitted that she used some payments from customers with current accounts to cover accounts that had fallen delinquent and that there were procedures in place at the company that she did not follow.
The business owners then requested assistance from police to aid in the investigation, which has taken almost three years to complete.
Corniero said some of the fraudulent transactions accounted for ranged in amounts from $200 to more than $7,000 and affected more than 20 accounts of people who conducted shipping business.
He said the scheme went unnoticed until Crowley questioned why some of their deposits were taking a long time to come in and they discovered a falsified collections report.
Gallivan set bail for Maximin at $150,000, and the judge said Maximin could be released if she posts at least 10 percent of the bail - $15,000 - in cash or twice the amount - $300,000 - in property.
Unable to do so, Maximin remains jailed. Her arraignment has been scheduled for Monday.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email email@example.com.