The human resources director of a Montgomery County firm has been charged with stealing nearly $1 million from the company by depositing a significant number of checks into her personal checking account, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said Monday.
Christine Marie Cushman, 31, of Douglassville, faces multiple offenses related to allegations that she stole $919,301 from HighPoint Solutions LLC in East Norriton by making 45 illegal transactions, according to a news release authorities issued on Monday. She had worked for the company briefly in 2007, and returned there in 2014.
HighPoint, a technology consultant in the medical and life sciences fields, was alerted when a bank officer for its payroll company noticed multiple suspicious and significant amounts of funds being deposited into Cushman's bank account, authorities reported. HighPoint's chief financial officer met with East Norriton Police Detective Anthony Caso in July, prompting the investigation that revealed fraudulent payroll checks were written to subcontractors who no longer did business with the company.
Previously, the companies used the same bank that Cushman used for direct deposit for her paychecks, according to police. When the fake deposits were made, detectives found that Cushman quickly transferred the money to another account, or used the money to pay personal expenses.
Cushman's responsibilities included preparing and reviewing payroll payments. Authorities allege the thefts took place from May 5 to June 15.
"Nearly $1 million was stolen from this company by a senior-level, trusted employee. This breach of trust is something that needs to be guarded against by other companies," said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele. "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."
Cushman was confronted about the suspicious deposits in July, according to police documents. After initially denying any thefts, she offered to pay $56,000 that she had saved, and to come up with a payment plan for the remaining amount of missing money.