Pittsfield woman accused of stealing $140,000 from employer

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PITTSFIELD — A city woman accused of stealing nearly $140,000 from her former employer made her first appearance in Berkshire Superior Court on Tuesday to deny those charges.

Heidi Kushi, 54, is alleged to have paid herself for regular and overtime hours for which she didn't work and used the company account of Donovan Construction to make payments on six personal credit cards over a five-year period while she was an office manager.

Kushi appeared before Judge Karen L. Goodwin and entered not guilty pleas to two counts of larceny over $1,200. She was released on her own recognizance.

Police began investigating the claim of stolen money in May 2018. According to court files, police were made aware of apparent irregularities in the April 2018 payroll account, which seemed unusually high.

A closer check of payroll records allegedly showed that Kushi had overpaid herself in nearly every payroll period since May 2013.

According to the company, Kushi only correctly paid herself twice in the five years she was employed there.

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Investigators said Kushi paid herself nearly $4,000 for unworked regular hours and just over $31,000 for unworked overtime hours while employed at Donovan.

Kushi is also accused of using the Donovan company account to pay over $100,000 for her personal credit cards. Just over $92,000 is alleged to have been paid on one card alone.

The remaining payments were split among five other cards in amounts ranging from $991 to $2,500.

Police said only one of those credit cards was opened in Kushi's name. The rest were opened under the name of a family member.

Between the alleged overpayments and credit card payments, Kushi is alleged to have stolen approximately $140,000 over the course of her time she worked for the company from May 2013 to April 2018, when she was fired.

A pretrial conference in the case was scheduled for Jan. 7.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@berkshireeagle.com, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.


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