A Huntington bookkeeper has been indicted on charges that she stole $866,000 over six years from the Locust Valley architecture firm where she worked, prosecutors said.
Lori Maceluch, 48, pleaded not guilty Thursday before Nassau County Court Judge Alan Honorof to second-degree grand larceny and 378 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument.
Her lawyer, Michael Alber of Hauppauge, said Maceluch "comes from a good family with good values." He said her case "will be litigated in court."
She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted and is due back in court Aug. 15.
"The amount of money this defendant stole is incredible, but the betrayal of her employer's trust is truly shocking," Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. "Her lavish lifestyle, however, could not protect her from the consequences of her deception."
Rice said Maceluch used her position to forge a firm partner's signature on 568 checks she wrote to herself between 2005 and 2011. As bookkeeper for the firm for about 15 years, Maceluch had unrestricted and unsupervised access to the firm's operating account, Rice said.
Maceluch disguised the theft by fraudulently enhancing legitimate expenses in the company's financial records, prosecutors said.
She used the stolen money to dine at expensive restaurants and take luxury vacations to the Berkshires, Nantucket Island, Fire Island, Florida and the Dominican Republic, Rice said. Maceluch also spent tens of thousands of dollars on credit card payments and at various retail stores, including Lord & Taylor and Bon Bon's Chocolatier, Rice said.
The theft was discovered in late 2011 when an internal audit of the company uncovered discrepancies in the accounts payable and accounts receivable records that could not be explained, officials said. Maceluch was fired shortly thereafter and the case was referred to the district attorney's office.