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Employee Charged With Stealing $350,000 From Vet Hospital

Trisha Lynn McLaughlin, 36, of Warminster is facing first degree felony charges for the theft, which police say was carried out by forging checks and overpaying herself on payroll.

The former practice manager of the Newtown Veterinary Hospital is facing  charges for allegedly taking more than $350,000 from the business over the course of her 10 years of employment with the company.

Trisha Lynn McLaughlin, 36, of Warminster is facing first degree felony charges for the theft, which police say was carried out by forging checks, abusing company credit cards and overpaying herself on payroll. 

McLaughlin worked at the local veterinary hospital from 2001 to 2011 after she was fired for misappropriation of funds, police said.

Newtown Township detectives began investigating last year after the owner of the Newtown Veterinary Hospital told police that he believed his former employee had embezzled funds.

According to police, McLaughlin was hired in 2001 as a veterinary technician and in 2006 was promoted to practice manager. In her role as practice manager, McLaughlin was directly responsible for accounts payable, payroll and budget.

Police said she had control of the veterinary hospital’s bank accounts and credit card accounts.

The business owner told police that she would write checks out to herself and cash them. In addition, she would overpay herself in payroll and would use the company charge card. She opened a PayPal account without authorization from the business owner and made personal purchases.

McLaughlin used the PayPal account to make more than $16,000 in personal purchases, including shoes, gym membership fees, clothes and home heating fuel. She used bank accounts to make personal payments to PECO, Verizon and car payments, police said.

She also made unauthorized personal purchases on the company’s accounts at BJ's Wholesale Club, Sam's Club, and Costco. The purchase history reports from the wholesale clubs McLaughlin purchased groceries, electronics, baby supplies, clothing and gift cards.

Police said McLaughlin also purchased gift certificates that were to be used as gifts for other employees but never gave them to the appropriate people.  She also withdrew funds from the hospital owner’s personal money market account.

While conducting the year-long investigation, township detectives discovered that McLaughlin destroyed many of the vet hospital’s financial records.

The NVH owner said he had discussed the thefts with McLaughlin and she denied any wrongdoing, police said.  Rather, police said, she considered herself to be borrowing money with the intention of paying it back.

She “pleaded with the owner not to go to the authorities or deny her unemployment benefits,” police said in a press release.

Based on the itemized purchase history reports, detectives determined that Trisha McLaughlin made $50,601 in unauthorized purchases from wholesale clubs, for goods and services that did not benefit the Newtown Veterinary Hospital, police said.

Additional illegal activities committed by McLaughlin include; inflating the pay rates for herself, her husband and other select employees, not withholding payroll deductions for medical and dental benefits for herself and her husband along with numerous other deductions that were not withheld from the paychecks, police said.

Review of accounts also uncovered that Trisha McLaughlin’s mismanagement of the business daycare center caused a loss of revenue discrepancies that totaled more than $85,000, police said. Numerous other fraudulent financial activities that led back to McLaughlin resulted in a total loss of $355,790 suffered by NVH, police said.

McLaughlin has been charged with Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities, Second degree felony Forgery – Unauthorized Act in Writing and Third degree felonies of Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition and Receiving Stolen Property.

She was processed at Northampton Township Police Headquarters and was arraigned via video by Judge Nasshorn. She was released ROR on $250,000 bail.

Becky February 21, 2013 at 10:57 PM
Wow, no wonder I can't afford to take my pets there anymore. Their rates are outrageous - guess I was paying for those new shoes and gym membership.
Jill Ressler Duffy February 21, 2013 at 11:34 PM
Wow! Look! She has tears because she got caught. Gross!
RESQMOM February 21, 2013 at 11:48 PM
One bad apple in an otherwise good quality vet practice. Dr. Ireland and his team are very knowledgeable and always a pleasant experience when taking my pets their for care. Hopefully, she will be charged to the fullest extent of the law.
Maria February 22, 2013 at 01:14 AM
I fell bad for all the other wonderful people who work there. They are wonderful, kind, dedicated people. Hopefully she will pay the price to the fullest extent of the law. She deserves it for what she put those poor people through all those years.
Steve A February 22, 2013 at 03:02 AM
Why is it that 90% of these cases involving this type of crime are committed by women? Earlier this week, it was the former mayor of San Diego.
Man Landers February 22, 2013 at 03:10 AM
What a woof woof! I don't know how the Vet didn't mistake that dog for a patient .
dogluver February 22, 2013 at 03:21 AM
That is a shame, Newtown Vet is a good vetinary service. The animals need that money more, she should have to pay it back and should do some community service helping to find shelter dogs homes. Shame on her. She basically robbed the animals.
TF February 22, 2013 at 04:07 AM
That's a great mug shot. Did she really think she could rip off over $350k from her employer and not eventually get caught? Hope she had fun cause now it's time to pay the piper.
Dawn C. February 22, 2013 at 11:26 AM
My heart goes out to the dedicated docs and staff. Imagine how much good could be done with over 350K to benefit animals.
Kathleen Reidy February 22, 2013 at 02:09 PM
Dr. Ireland is a great vet but his prices are sky high and I am considering finding a more reasonably priced doctor.
The Illuminati February 22, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Now they will have all if that extra money...just to lose it paying for Obamacare.
Cathy February 22, 2013 at 07:43 PM
Love the doctors at Newtown Vet. Have been going there for almost 9 years. Luckily, she was not a doctor but it is sad, what people resort too.
Man Landers February 23, 2013 at 03:20 AM
Lighten up, Ill-unimati.
Rush Limbo February 23, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Maybe they should take some night classes in business management
Rush Limbo February 23, 2013 at 02:41 PM
My dog loves having his cage lined with the OBAMA care bill..... nough paper to last a long time
Rush Limbo February 23, 2013 at 02:42 PM
pssst Cath if the Doctors do not have the smarts to audit there own books ..... how good are they......come on do the addition!
Rush Limbo February 23, 2013 at 02:43 PM
ps stop drinking the kool-aid
Kathleen Reidy February 23, 2013 at 05:22 PM
During this time period Dr. Ireland's wife was pretty sick and he probably trusted this woman to do the right thing. He is a great vet. He is better than my doctor. He takes the time to explain what is wrong with my pet and is genuinely concerned. However, his prices have become too high especially when you have six dogs and a rabbit.
Gerry Couch February 27, 2013 at 04:19 AM
I hope they prosecute her and anyone who had knowledge or benefitted from her thefts. I think too many times employers don't want to deal with these issues. But believe me from experience, you have to set an example for others that bad behavior will be prosecuted.
Me March 06, 2013 at 10:04 PM
So how can she get prosecuted for payroll violations when she probably wasn't running payroll? Why doesn't the hospital have a CPA on staff? Something smells.
To me March 26, 2013 at 01:11 PM
She did run the payroll, n there was a CPA service that was payed to keep an eye on her. They should be indicted as well.

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