By Wesley Edwards
Melfa Shore Stop Manager Mildred Mills was in Accomack County Circuit Court on Thursday facing an embezzlement charge. Mills entered a not guilty plea.
In the Commonwealth’s opening statement Randy Foltz told the court that there were 3 deposits missing, March 7, 2017 March 8, 2017 and March 9, 2017 totaling approximately $6000. Foltz explained to the court that Mills was supposed to make a daily deposit from the previous days receipts at PNC Bank and that on March 7 no deposit was made, again on March 8 no deposit was made, and on March 9 a $300 drop box deposit was made.
Defense attorney Tucker Watson said there would be no dispute about money missing and she was the manager but not the only one to handle money.
The District Manager James Townsend stated he was in charge of all the Maryland stores plus four in Virginia. Townsend reported that corporate brought the problem to his attention on March 15 telling him about the issues of the cash register receipts not matching the daily deposits. He stated that he called Mills and she agreed to meet him at the bank but she never showed up and ignored numerous other phone calls. Townsend testified that he subsequently went to the Sheriff’s office and reported what he believed to be embezzlement. He presented to the Sheriff’s Department cash register receipts that showed that $2,515 should have been deposited on the 7th $2,118 should have been deposited on the 8 and $2,130 should have been deposited on the 9th. He also presented to the Sheriff’s Department Mills’ time clock sheet which showed she was on duty those days.
Two other employees subsequently testified that they made deposits in accordance with the company policy when they were on duty as assistant managers. They both testified that money was kept in the safe overnight and that they all had keys including Ms. Mills.
Teresa Kellam of PNC Bank testified that she knew Ms. Mills and had waited on her many times when she brought in the daily deposits. She also testified that there had been occasions that deposit had been made to the night deposit box. She explained that on March 15 or the morning of March 16 the night deposit box had a bag that said there should be $1,200 inside but only had $300 and no deposit tickets. On cross-examination Ms. Kellam admitted that there were occasions when the deposits were 3 or 4 days after the actual receipt dates.
Officer McPherson also testified that he had been the investigating officer and had interviewed the defendant on 2 different occasions with the defendant basically admitted that a bag of money had been misplaced or stolen from her desk in February and since that time she had been trying to cover that up with what was referred to as a rolling deposit, which meant she was using today’s money to make yesterday’s deposit. In those 2 depositions Mills also stated to McPherson the reason she did not report this shortage or what was happening within the store she knew some of her employees would be fired and they all had children and needed their jobs.
After closing arguments Judge Lewis told the defendant that she knew she was supposed to make daily deposits over the 3 days in question and did not do so and that he felt she was robbing Peter to pay Paul but was not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that she was guilty of embezzlement therefore not guilty on the embezzlement charge.