Shaftsbury couple arrested in $48K fraud
SHAFTSBURY -- Vermont State Police arrested 36-year-old Lisa Taber on Thursday, May 15, when she turned herself in to the Shaftsbury Barracks during an ongoing police investigation of reported fraud, embezzlement and forgery.
Taber worked as a secretary for Latif Plumbing and Heating LLC. She was hired in January 2013 to do the company's payroll, quarterly and federal taxes.
Company owners Donald and Sandra Latif reported to the state police on April 30 that Taber had embezzled funds through checks and electronic fund transfers, which they believed amounted to roughly $10,000. The Latifs gave the police documentation of Taber's use of company funds to pay personal bills and forged checks that were deposited into her personal savings account, which were ledgered as payments associated with the company's expenses.
The Latifs started suspecting Taber once they received calls from their bank that payments weren't being made. From there, Sandra Latif started going through the company's bank statements, which provided evidence against Taber. "I knew things haven't been good for me lately financially, but I didn't want to believe it," Donald Latif said.
The ongoing investigation has so far revealed stolen funds exceeding $48,000. Many financial documents that were subpoenaed are waiting to be examined. State police wrote in a press release that the embezzled amount could be substantially higher after they review documents dating back to Taber's hire.
State police Tpr. Paul Sokolowski and Det. Robert Zink conducted the initial criminal investigation, during which Taber's husband, Jeremy Taber, was arrested for issuing threats against Donald Latif via telephone.
Jeremy Taber has since been released under the condition that he not contact the Latifs. He is being charged with disorderly conduct by telephone and is scheduled to be arraigned in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division on Monday, June 2.
Lisa Taber stands accused of 132 counts of embezzlement, 132 counts of false pretenses and 92 counts of forgery. She is scheduled to appear in Bennington Superior Court Criminal Division on Monday, May 19, at 12:30 p.m.
Donald Latif was forced to lay off employees, turn away work and was not able to turn a profit for several months due to Lisa Taber's actions. He said he trusted Taber and feels hurt that she would take advantage of him. "It's not just affected me, but also other families I'm just a wreck over this. It's an awful thing to go through. I wish it had never happened."
Neither the Latifs nor the Tabers are known to have involved lawyers at this point. Donald Latif said he just wants the justice system to work out the charges before seeking restitution.
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