A Lowell woman who embezzled over $180,000 from a veterinary hospital pleaded guilty to six counts of wire fraud Friday, officials said.
Sasha A. Saulnier, 32, worked as a client relations specialist at an animal hospital from October 2011 to September 2018, according to a statement from the Massachusetts US Attorney’s Office.
In her nearly seven years there, Saulnier sold products to customers and temporarily served in a supervisor role that allowed her access to management software and “the ability to manipulate account transactions and accounting data.”
From March 2014 to August 2018, with access to the company’s management software, Saulnier entered false refund transactions which went to her personal debit cards, linked to her checking account, the statement said. She would enter refunds for items that were either bought by customers and not returned or never purchased in the first place, then transfer the phony refunds to her debit card. She would also create fake discounts and apply them to previous purchases of retail products.
Using the accounts of former clients with deceased pets and “test accounts” intended for training, Saulnier attempted to conceal the fraud, the statement said.
Over the course of four years, Saulnier falsified approximately 482 transactions sent to her bank account, totaling approximately $182,800, the statement said. She traveled to New York City, the Bahamas, Las Vegas, and paid for personal expenses with the stolen money.
Saulnier will be sentenced April 24, according to the statement. She faces up to 20 years in prison with three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the amount lost, restitution, and forfeiture, prosecutors said.
She was previously charged by criminal complaint in August 2019, the statement said.
Assistant US Attorney Lindsey E. Weinstein of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.
Matt Berg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mattberg33.