Former office manager of dental clinic pleads guilty to felony theft charges

Mary Ellen Wilson, age 56, pleaded guilty today to five counts of [tag]felony[/tag] theft from her employer, Gentle Family Dentistry. She was charged with stealing $293,000, but the actual losses could be more than double that figure. Under a [tag]plea agreement[/tag], Wilson could be sentenced to five years in [tag]prison[/tag], five years of [tag]extended supervision[/tag], 25 years of [tag]probation[/tag], and [tag]restitution[/tag]. The judge, however, made it clear that he is not obligated to follow these terms, and could [tag]sentence[/tag] her to up to 35 years in prison.

Wilson’s [tag]fraud[/tag] spanned from 1998 to April 2005, and suspicion began while she was on leave and the IRS contacted the office about unpaid [tag]payroll taxes[/tag]. Wilson wrote unauthorized checks to herself, while she left the payroll taxes unpaid. The owners of the clinic trusted her and never looked at any bank statements. Some of those bank statements were destroyed, some were kept in her desk, and others were kept at her home.

On April 19, 2005, the clinic owner met with Wilson to discuss the situation with the IRS. They did not immediately suspect a theft, rather they assumed that the IRS must have made an error. Wilson confessed that day, and the owner took her to the police station in his car so they could report her theft immediately.