NORRISTOWN >> A Berks County woman faces theft-related charges for allegedly embezzling more than $900,000 from the East Norriton Township company for which she worked as director of human resources.
Christine Marie Cushman, 31, of the 700 block of Rosewood Drive, Amity Township, was arraigned Aug. 2 before District Court Judge Ester J. Casillo on charges of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, identity theft and receiving stolen property in connection with incidents that occurred between August 2015 and June 2017 while she worked at Highpoint Solutions LLC in East Norriton.
Cushman posted $10,000 bail to remain free pending her Aug. 22 preliminary hearing on the charges.
With the charges, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele alleged Cushman stole $919,301 from her former employer.
“Nearly $1 million was stolen from this company by a senior-level, trusted employee,” said Steele, calling Cushman’s alleged conduct a “breach of trust.” “Unfortunately, corporate theft is all too prevalent and requires a system of checks and balances within the corporate system to make sure this doesn’t happen.”
The investigation began July 4, when senior officials of Highpoint Solutions contacted East Norriton detectives to report that the business’s payroll company uncovered suspicious direct deposit transactions that were made to Cushman’s personal bank account.
The subsequent investigation determined that Cushman allegedly issued fraudulent payroll checks in the names of four former subcontractors who no longer did business with Highpoint Solutions and then directly deposited them in her personal bank account, according to court papers.
“Cushman’s responsibilities included preparing and reviewing the payroll information before it was submitted to the outside payroll company,” Steele alleged.
The 45 fraudulent transactions occurred between August 2015 and June 2017, authorities alleged.
Cushman, according to the criminal complaint, also took steps to conceal the fraudulent transactions.
Officials said Cushman was employed by Highpoint Solutions since July 16, 2007. Cushman left the company for a brief period of time but returned on July 14, 2014.
When company officials confronted Cushman about the alleged thefts she initially denied the conduct. However, later in text messages, Cushman offered to return $56,000 which she had in the bank and promised to come up with a plan for repaying the remaining balance, according to the criminal complaint filed by East Norriton Detective Anthony Caso.
During the investigation, detectives obtained warrants to search Cushman’s bank account. Detectives alleged banking records revealed that after the fraudulent deposits were made to Cushman’s account they were quickly utilized, “quite often transferred to other accounts, used to pay personal debts both electronically and by check,” according to the criminal complaint.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher Daniels, who leads the district attorney’s economic crimes division, will prosecute the case.