Museum Security Network

Insider theft – Tucson – 'Guilty' plea from woman charged with stealing nearly $1M

‘Guilty’ plea from woman charged with stealing nearly $1M

Posted: Aug 4, 2009 12:16 AM 


By Brian White – email

 TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) – A 65-year-old woman charged with embezzling nearly $1 million from the Tucson Museum of Art has pleaded guilty.

 Ruth Sons pleaded guilty to one count of theft and one count of fraudulent schemes and artifices, both felonies.

 She faces up to 12.5 years in prison followed by seven years probation at her sentencing hearing scheduled for Sept. 3.

 She must also pay $973,010 in restitution, Attorney General Terry Goddard said Monday.

 Between 2003 and 2008, Sons allegedly embezzled $973,010 from the Tucson Museum of Art, where she was employed as a bookkeeper and accountant.

 According to investigators, Sons’ position as an accountant gave her access to the museum’s payroll, museum shop deposits and petty cash accounts.

 For more than five years she allegedly conducted the elaborate embezzlement scheme, which included:

 Forging the signatures of the museum’s CFO and Director

Stealing cash intended for deposit from sales at the museum shop

Manipulating the museum’s general accounting ledger to conceal the embezzlement

The defendant began her employment at TMA in 1990 as a bookkeeper. She was indicted in May after the scheme was discovered during an internal audit conducted by the museum last year.

 The museum turned the case over to the Tucson Police Department for investigation.

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