Boehlert Staffer’s Wife Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Posted February 20, 2004 at 5:53pm

The wife of a staffer in Rep. Sherwood Boehlert’s (D-N.Y.) district office has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $1 million from the credit union where she worked. But federal prosecutors said they are still trying to figure out what she did with all the money she stole.

Sharon Ann Smith, the branch manager of the Rome Federal Credit Union, admitted last week that she stole $1,085,370 from the bank between 1995 and 2003. She faces up to 30 years in prison for her crime.

Boehlert spokeswoman Melissa Carlson told The Associated Press last week that Patrick Smith, a staff assistant in the Congressman’s Utica office who is married to Sharon Ann Smith, was unaware of the embezzlement. Sharon Ann Smith also serves on the credit union’s board.

“The Congressman supports his staff,” Carlson told the AP. “This is a personal issue between one of our staffers and his spouse and it is being handled through the appropriate legal channels. We are confident that the matter will be resolved in the interests of everyone.”

Smith’s embezzlement scheme, as outlined in her nine-page plea agreement, involved establishing 136 loans for 37 fictitious members she had created, with the proceeds totaling more than $2.5 million.

According to the Utica Observer-Dispatch, Smith avoided detection for so long because she made monthly payments on the loans. Her scheme was uncovered, however, when the credit union conducted a routine internal audit and came across a member’s name it didn’t recognize.

Smith’s sentencing has been scheduled for June 17, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Broton said the case is still open.

By the terms of her plea agreement, Smith has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $1,085,370 to the Rome Federal Credit Union. She is also required to disclose all assets, including those held by a spouse.