Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled the name of the company and its owner. It has been corrected.
KEITH WHITCOMB JR.
BENNINGTON -- The former chief financial officer of a property management company who is being sued over allegedly misappropriating funds is now facing a criminal charge.
Catherine Eucker, 50, of Manchester, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to a felony count of embezzlement. She was released under the condition she not contact a certain employee of the company she worked for.
A complaint was filed in May in the court's civil division against Eucker by the insurance company for TPW Management LLC seeking from Eucker the $23,000 she allegedly misused by using company credit cards for personal transactions, and using her own vehicle as a trade in when negotiating a lease for two new company vehicles.
Eucker has denied those allegations and the civil case is still pending.
According to an affidavit by Vermont State Detective Sgt. Tyler C. Burgess, in March he was assigned to the case surrounding the allegations against Eucker because there was a conflict of interest with the Winhall Police Department. In early April, Burgess met with the owner of TPW, Paul Carroccio Sr., and his attorney Brian Marthage. He was given a "packet of information" TWP had complied detailing its issued with Eucker.
According to TPW, Eucker was hired as chief financial officer in February 2012. The company accused her of using company credit cards in the names of former and current employees as well as writing two checks for herself.
The affidavit referred to 15 incidents where Eucker was alleged to have misused company funds, mostly through company credit cards being used to buy personal items and meals, however one occasion she wrote a check to a youth hockey league, and on another she included her personal vehicle in a trade-in deal when negotiating a lease on two new company cars. Eucker is accused of getting TWP to pay the loan balance on her personal vehicle.
According to the affidavit, TPW's accounts payable clerk was interviewed about Eucker's activities. The clerk said she felt intimidated by Eucker and found her acts deceitful. The clerk said, among other things, that Eucker claimed she was given an allowance for things and had taken a pay cut to compensate for personal expenses.
The clerk also said Eucker had written two checks to pay for a tax lien on another person's house, possibly a friend. The clerk said she heard Eucker say this was the only thing she would lose sleep over, or words to that effect.
Eucker was fired on Jan. 18. TPW had noticed numerous issues with its cash flows and was having problems with checks to vendors being bounced.
Burgess wrote that he was granted a search warrant that allowed him to record a call between Eucker and a witness. During that call, Eucker said she had made good on her debts by taking a $5,000 pay cut.
On April 23 Eucker and her employer were scheduled for a hearing with the Vermont Department of Labor over her firing. Eucker wrote a letter to Administrative Law Judge Mark Horowitz and Carroccio saying she did charge personal items to company credit cards and used her own vehicle as a trade in, however she reduced her compensation to make up for it. She said she was not employed long enough to pay back what was left owed to the company.
"To say this has been a difficult year is an understatement and I take full responsibility for my financial situation and the consequences of my actions. I am truly sorry for my actions -- truly I am," her letter was quoted as saying in part.
Burgess wrote that his calculations showed Eucker fraudulently charged $25,179 during 2012. On June 25, he met with Eucker and her attorney, Chris Rundel. Eucker told police that TWP funds had been used by others for personal things, however Carroccio said those things were accounted for and permission given.
Eucker made more statements apologizing for her actions and saying she would repay what was owed.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.