A state employee allegedly crafted an elaborate check-cashing scheme and embezzled at least $75,000 from the state, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Friday.
State police Friday arrested Office of Risk Management employee Lisa Peduzzi and charged her with multiple charges of embezzlement by a public official.
So far investigators say they have uncovered 19 incidents in 2013 and 2014 in which Peduzzi, a claims investigator who worked in the risk management office of the Agency of Administration, allegedly wrote state checks to buy cars, boats, guitars and jewelry.
She also allegedly paid her Plainfield property tax with state funds, Shumlin said.
"There is nothing more disappointing or infuriating to me than a state employee who takes advantage of the public trust and steals taxpayer money," Shumlin said.
Police emphasized that this is only the beginning of a lengthy probe into her schemes. Her embezzlement scheme likely stretches back at least as far as 2009, police said. They believe Peduzzi acted alone.
"We want to take the time to make sure it's done right and make sure we get every cent back that's due in restitution," said Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn.
Peduzzi allegedly sold some items she bought. Anyone who has bought or sold something from her should contact the state police, police said.
"Apparently she was an Ebay-er," Flynn said.
Her scheme was sophisticated. Peduzzi's job was to pay out claims to people who filed them with the state, officials said. To steal money, she would create false claims, complete with forms and receipts, issued to people she wanted to pay.
The claims were for hitting potholes or bridge abutments, and were issued in amounts small enough that they did not create a suspicious spike in claims.
Investigators were tipped off to Peduzzi's scheme earlier this month after she tried to buy a guitar from a man in Michigan, who got suspicious when she wanted to pay with a state check.