Pittsfield woman guilty in $170,000 theft from residents of nursing center

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PITTSFIELD — Jurors wasted little time in returning guilty verdicts against a city woman who stole $170,000 from the residents of a nursing and rehabilitation center.

Debora A. Goyette, 46, was convicted of three counts of larceny and one count of making false entries into corporate books Friday after about four hours of jury deliberations.

Closing arguments in her trial were delivered Thursday afternoon, with the jury receiving the case shortly after.

The verdicts were delivered Friday afternoon.

After the verdicts, Judge John Agostini ordered Goyette held in custody pending her sentencing hearing scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court.

Goyette was convicted of stealing approximately $170,000 from the accounts of residents at the Hillcrest Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Valentine Road in Pittsfield between January 2009 and October 2012.

First Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello, who prosecuted the case, described Goyette as a "fox watching the henhouse" when it came to her handling of the resident spending accounts of which she was in charge.

Caccaviello argued Goyette had oversight of the accounts and created the shopping system patients used to have items purchased for them, and that system lacked any checks or balances to ensure the cash was being handled properly.

Goyette's attorney, Leonard Cohen, attempted to shift the blame for the missing money to a different employee of the nursing home, who was later fired for theft.

Caccaviello said police did not investigate that person because those thefts occurred about a year after Goyette was fired amid the theft accusations.

Caccaviello said the financial discrepancies were revealed after a 500-hour audit of the company's books.

According to the DA's office, Goyette faces up to 10 years in state prison on the charge of making false entries and up to five years in state prison on each of the larceny charges.

The actual sentence will be determined at Goyette's Tuesday hearing.

The investigation was conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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