A report released on Tuesday details how a former employee of the Village of Windham tried to conceal her theft of almost $5,000 by tampering with the village’s utility billing system.

Former Windham Utility Clerk Lindsey Paolella pleaded guilty in October to a fourth-degree felony count of theft in office and a third-degree felony count of tampering with records. She was sentenced in January to 90 days in jail, four years of probation and ordered to pay restitution.

The Auditor of State’s office has determined that Paolella stole $4,911 from 28 utility payments made by customers from Jan. 1, 2016, through Oct. 5, 2016.

For many of the payments, she tried to cover her tracks with a tactic called an adjusting journal entry scheme.

Instead of recording the transaction as a payment in the billing system, the cash is pocketed and the customer's account balance is lowered enough to offset the stolen amount.

In that way, the government’s books balance and makes it appear as if the customer’s balance is paid in full.

“This ruse only works when no one is carefully monitoring billing activity,” Auditor David Yost said. “Village council needs to enhance its oversight of transactions to prevent customer payments from winding up in the pockets of unscrupulous employees.”

Auditors determined that Paolella created 19 fraudulent adjustments to customer accounts.

They issued a $4,911 finding for recovery against her and her bonding company.

The entire audit may be read here: