Embezzler still owes Montville $55,760

Montville - A former town employee who embezzled from the Water Pollution Control Authority still owes the town more than $55,000, a member of the Town Council said Monday night.

Linda Rivera, who started work in the WPCA office in 1988 and was at one time its deputy administrator, was found in 2005 to have used a complex system of substituting checks from payments made to various accounts to steal $51,536.

Rivera, charged with first-degree larceny, was sentenced in 2007 to three years in prison, suspended after 90 days, and five years' probation after a town investigation revealed her theft. She repaid the $51,536 upon sentencing, but a judge also ordered Rivera to pay the town $55,760 to cover the cost of an investigation that revealed the scope of her theft.

Town Councilor Gary Murphy, the council's liaison to the WPCA, said Monday that while Rivera's five-year probation has expired, she still owes the town the additional funds to cover its investigation into her wrongdoing.

"There's not a lot we can do," Murphy said. "She apparently does not have anything for us to go after."

The investigation required more than 450 hours of research from town employees. Murphy said that Rivera was required to make monthly payments of $25. WPCA Administrator Brian Lynch said that those payments have not been made and that he has researched avenues the town can pursue to recoup the money.

Lynch also said that the January Center, the residential sex-offender treatment facility on the grounds of the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution, owes the town about $37,000 for a past due connection fee.

Elected officials and a number of residents concerned with the safety ramifications of the center spent months fighting the state's efforts to put the facility on the prison's grounds. A lawsuit failed and the town eventually entered into an agreement with the state that outlines safety parameters for the facility. Lynch said state officials have said the fee will be paid by the end of June.

The Town Council also voted Monday to pursue two matching police grants that will increase the police department's ability to curb drinking and driving offenders and seatbelt violators. The $74,200 drinking and driving enforcement grant will require the town to put up $18,550 while the $3,752 seatbelt grant includes the town's share of $952. The grants are partly designed to pay the cost of officers who would set up enforcement checkpoints.



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