WILKES-BARRE – A Nanticoke woman charged with taking $16,000 from Luzerne County Community College while working there as a secretary pleaded guilty Wednesday in Luzerne County Court.
Janet M. Griffith, 52, of Center Street, pleaded guilty before Judge David Lupas to a felony charge of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds.
Griffith faces a maximum of seven years in prison when she is sentenced on Sept. 3. Griffith will be required to pay a $5,000 deductible to LCCC and $11,809 to an insurance company at the time of her sentencing.
After an investigation by Nanticoke police and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office, investigators said Griffith took about $16,000 while working as a secretary at the school’s Public Safety Training Institute.
According to the criminal complaint, Nanticoke Detective Capt. William Shultz spoke on Feb. 22 with the college’s director of security, Bill Barrett, who said an accounting firm had completed an annual 2011 audit for the training institute and that discrepancies were uncovered regarding missing funds.
The institute, which opened in 2008, trains police officers, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and truck drivers in a variety of courses.
An accountant reported to the college that the missing money came from student tuition payments that had been made in cash.
On March 9, Luzerne County Detective Lt. Gary Capitano became involved in the investigation and spoke with college President Thomas Leary, who said Griffith was responsible for collecting fees for many courses and for transporting the payments to the finance office every day.
According to the college, Griffith was hired as a custodian in August 2007 and moved into the secretary position in December 2008. In October 2011, Griffith was moved back to the custodian position before she was placed on unpaid suspension in March 2012.
She was formally terminated from employment when she was arraigned on charges in November. Her annual salary had been $23,585.
She is represented by attorney Matthew Kelly. Assistant District Attorney Shannon Crake is prosecuting the case.