Office manager denies theft charges

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NORTH ADAMS — The longtime office manager of a North Adams scrap metal business pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that she has embezzled more than $200,000 from the company in the last two years, according to documents filed in Northern Berkshire District Court.

In an interview before her arrest, Deborah Trybus, of Lanesborough, told police that she'd been stealing funds from George Apkin & Sons for five or six years, but didn't keep track of the total amount she had taken, according to a report filed with the case.

"Trybus stated several years back when she first started writing checks under her daughter's name she would write them out for $4,000 and as time had gone on the most she would write a check out for was $7,900," Adams Police Detective Michael Wandrei wrote in his report. "Trybus stated when she first started taking money from George Apkin & Sons she did this because she was a single mother with three children and was struggling to make mortgage payments and just couldn't keep up."

It wasn't until Oct. 28 that William Apkin, who is a co-stock holder in the business with his brother, realized that there were issues with the company's financial records during a random electronic inspection of checks that had been written to vendors.

When he cross referenced one check for $7,812 that had been written to one of their regular vendors with TD Bank records, he learned that the check for that amount had actually been written out to Nicole Gallese.

"Nicole Gallese is known by me to be the daughter of my Office Manager, Deborah Trybus," Apkin wrote in an affidavit. "Deborah has been the office manager for over 10 years."

Apkin then realized that checks totaling $191,000 had been written out to Gallese between Jan. 1, 2019 to Oct. 15, 2019.

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In 2018, there were four checks totaling $30,000 that had been cashed or deposited into Gallese's account.

During her interview, Trybus said she never kept track of how much money she had taken over the years, but estimated that it was around $175,000 in 2019.

After writing checks out in her daughter's name, Trybus would later go back into the company's Electronic General Ledger and edit the check to show it was going to one of the regular vendors, police said she admitted.

"Trybus firmly stated that there is nobody else involved in the taking of this money, stating that nobody else had a clue," Wandrei wrote. "Trybus stated that she has been worried for a long time thinking about her getting caught and stated it would make her sick to her stomach to think about it because she was hurting the people she loves."

After pleading not guilty Wednesday to larceny over $1,200 by single scheme, forgery of a check, uttering a false check, Trybus was released from court on personal recognizance, according to court records.

Attempts to reach Trybus' attorney, Michelle Mechta, on Saturday were unsuccessful. A message left for William Apkin was not returned.

Trybus is scheduled to return to Northern Berkshire District Court for a pretrial hearing on Dec. 4.

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at horecchio@berkshireeagle.com, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.


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