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Ex-bookkeeper sentenced for stealing more than quarter million

Doreen Goucher, 62, of Atlantic Beach, is shown

Doreen Goucher, 62, of Atlantic Beach, is shown in this Feb. 14, 2013 photo. Goucher has been charged with grand larceny in connection with the theft of $250,000 from an architectural firm where she worked, District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. Credit: NCDA

An Atlantic Beach woman was sentenced to 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years in prison Monday for admitting to stealing more than $250,000 from a company while working as its bookkeeper and using the money to pay for personal shopping, travel and even her home-equity loan.

Nassau prosecutors said Doreen Goucher, 63, who pleaded guilty in November to a felony charge of second-degree grand larceny, was sentenced by County Court Judge Susan Kluewer and also ordered to pay restitution of $258,731.

Between June 2006 and December 2011, Goucher used her position as bookkeeper for a local architect to withdraw $258,731 from company accounts without permission or authority, according to a news release from the office of District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Goucher forged her employer's signature on about 116 checks and then used those checks to pay off her personal credit cards and a home-equity loan.

"Workplace theft is a problem not just for employers, but for the honest workers and hardworking consumers who suffer from the increase in costs and higher prices that can be the result of these crimes," Rice said in a statement.

Goucher also used the money to travel to the island of St. Martin in the Caribbean and to open an account at Peter Luger Steakhouse, among other purchases, prosecutors said.

She covered the thefts by creating unauthorized personal credit and loan accounts that appeared to be legitimate company accounts. She was discovered when an internal audit of the company's finances was performed and discrepancies were discovered and turned over to the district attorney's office for further investigation in January 2012, prosecutors said.

Goucher worked for the company for 14 years before being terminated in December 2011.

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