Trial began Tuesday for a Moorefield Twp. woman accused of embezzlement involving more than $1.7 million stolen from her Springfield employer over a decade.
Lisa Blevins, 55, of Tacoma Street, is charged with two counts of felony theft and 10 counts of forgery.
Defense attorney Wolodymyr Strileckyj asked for a bench trial, meaning that Visiting Judge William McCracken and not a jury will hear testimony, consider the evidence and render a verdict.
During opening statements, Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Merrell said the state's investigation indicated Blevins stole $1,768,287.93 from her employer, Kreider Corporation, by forging 1,059 checks. She would manually enter the checks into the company's system to match a legitimate business. However, the amounts were not paid to those companies but to herself or one of her accounts.
In some instances, she is accused of using the funds for purchases at stores such as Kohl's and Macy's to pay off her own credit cards or the one she opened for her daughter, and to buy her son a car.
The thefts were discovered last year, Merrell said, when John Patton, Kreider's vice president and general manager, confronted her about five forged checks. Blevins reportedly admitted to taking the money -- $29,429.74 -- to pay off her Capital One credit card. She informed the company she would use her 401(k) to pay off the debt, but was fired April 15.
Audits of Kreider's accounts showed much more money was missing, and in some cases the checks were deposited into Blevins' accounts or that of her son and daughter, Merrell said.
"In retrospect, John Patton thought 'It's bad times, resources are increasing in cost, our revenues are down.' But he placed his trust in Lisa Blevins and had no concept that she was embezzling money," Merrell said.
While Blevins "admitted to some indiscretions" to her employer, Strileckyj said, she never admitted to forgery.
An analysis of the forged checks could not verify Blevins forged the signature on all 1,059, but only about 110, her attorney said. Strileckyj also questioned whether there was enough evidence to link checks deposited in accounts to his client.
"Even of those 110, 115 checks that may be traced signature-wise to Lisa Blevins, there's nothing that indicates who, what, why, where, when those checks were placed in other accounts, even some of (those) of Lisa Blevins," he said.
The trial is expected to stretch over the next three weeks.
Blevins, who is no longer in jail after posting a $200,000 bond.
She also is the defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by Kreider Corp., a metal stamping company with assembly, welding, tool making, product and tool design capabilities for the automotive, heavy truck, electronics, military, transportation and other industries, according to the company's website.
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