ELLSWORTH — A former deputy clerk for the town of Bucksport pleaded guilty Thursday in Hancock County Superior Court to stealing more than $35,000 from the town over four years.
Darla Crawford, 51, pleaded guilty to one count Class B theft by unauthorized taking.
Crawford’s attorney, Peter Baldacci, told Justice Kevin M. Cuddy that his client “does not admit she has done this activity but recognizes a court could find her guilty.”
Crawford’s sentencing was continued for a year to allow her time to make restitution, which would affect the state’s recommendation for sentencing.
A Class B felony carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
The total loss is $54,179.56, said District Attorney Michael Povich. That figure includes $18,403, which represents the cost the town incurred during an audit, he said.
Povich explained that the thefts occurred when Crawford diverted checks intended for a Bucksport Ambulance account to an excise tax account when a resident would pay cash for his or her excise tax. Then she would take the cash, he said.
The thefts, which occurred between 2002 and 2006, were discovered when another clerk noticed a problem with reimbursements for use of the Bucksport Ambulance and alerted Town Manager Roger Raymond.
Raymond was concerned enough to order an audit, the prosecutor said. The audit showed 101 thefts over the four-year time period.
If Crawford pays $18,403 over the next 12 months, then the state will recommend a lighter sentence, Povich said.
Cuddy said the court recognizes restitution is “a significant component of the sentencing proposal,” but expects the sentencing hearing to occur by May 2010.