Union woman admits to stealing from 3 businesses
Rockland — A Union woman admitted June 23 to stealing $77,000 from three local businesses while she was employed as a bookkeeper.
Melanie L. Allen, 40, was sentenced by Justice Jeffrey Hjelm to serve five years in prison with all but nine months suspended. The sentence will be served in the Knox County Jail.
Allen is also ordered to repay restitution to three victims: Lynn Archer, Andrew Payor and Michael Fairfield. Criminal charges will not be brought in the case where Allen admitted to stealing nearly $3,000 from Fairfield, who owns Rite Way Cleaning Company in Waldoboro. Allen will pay restitution in the case.
Allen admitted to stealing $66,977 from Archer and $7,790 from Payor, owner of Rockport Technologies.
In a statement to the court, Archer, the owner of Archer's Restaurant and The Brass Compass, said Allen had once been a close friend and confidante and it broke her heart to learn her former friend had stolen from her.
"It has been hard for me, to know that somebody I trusted and cared for was that cold and calculated," she said.
Archer said she had to take out a loan to keep her two businesses operating during the winter, a loan that will take 15 years to repay.
"Nine months is a minor sentence, but she has to live with herself, which is a sentence in itself," Archer said.
Allen pleaded guilty to felony forgery and theft and no contest to another set of felony theft and forgery charges. The no contest pleas were entered in case of pending civil action against her.
In May, Archer was awarded compensatory and punitive damages in the amount of $87,520 after she took civil action against Allen.
Archer employed Allen as a bookkeeper for more than 10 years until Allen was charged with forging checks and stealing $87,000 from January to October 2013.
Archer was awarded $40,000 in punitive damages because she proved Allen acted with malice, according to Hjelm's order.
Courier Publications' reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.