Friday July 13, 2012

GREAT BARRINGTON -- A Pittsfield woman will serve the next two months in jail for her role in stealing more than $18,000 from Canyon Ranch while employed by the Lenox spa and resort.

Lisa M. Southard, 31, of Crane Avenue, Pittsfield, entered a guilty plea to one felony count of larceny by a single scheme and was sentenced by Judge Frederic Rutberg to six months in the Berkshire County Jail and House of Corrections. She will serve 60 days, with the remainder of her sentence suspended until July 2014.

Southard entered her guilty plea in Southern Berkshire District Court.

Southard stole the funds by sending customer refunds to five of her personal credit cards and began doing so on Dec. 20, 2011. She told police she began stealing refunds to help pay her and her boyfriend's bills and drug addiction. Once she realized how easy it was, Southard said, she began doing it regularly even though she knew she would eventually get caught.

From the first occurrence to the last on Feb. 1, Southard directed 57 refunds to personal credit cards for a total of $18,280. The refunds ranged from $110 to $1,100. The thefts were noticed by Canyon Ranch staff, who contacted Lenox police with the information.

Southard directed $15,590 to her own cards, and allegedly directed $2,690 to two credit cards owned by her boyfriend, Patrick J. Wolf, 32, of Crane Avenue, Pittsfield.

Wolf is facing two felony counts of larceny by a single scheme. His case will be heard by a jury in Pittsfield on Jan. 7, 2013. According to police, Wolf was aware of Southard's activities and never did anything to deter her, even using the stolen refunds for his own purchases.

Southard said they used the refunds to make purchases or for cash advances. Southard admitted to sufficient facts on four additional felony larceny charges, but those charges were continued without a finding.

She is due back in court on Oct. 4 for a restitution hearing.