Bookkeeper buys nearly $300,000 worth of Staples gift cards with forged checks, faces up to 5 years in prison

This is an image of a $100 bill. WLNE)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- A former law firm bookkeeper was sentenced to five years in federal prison on Tuesday after she embezzled over $740,000 from a Rhode Island law firm.

Sarah Gaulin, 39, used to be a bookkeeper at Hamel, Waxler, Allen, and Collins (HWAC). She stole $740,943 from the firm using forged checks.

Of the $740,943 that Gaulin stole, $292,190 was in Staples gift cards. She had to use over 550 forged checks to buy all of the gift cards, according to court documents.

Aside from buying Staples gift cards, Gaulin used the stolen money to pay for her rent, mortgage, car lease and repairs, phone service, and credit card debts.

She fraudulently collected $19,588 in temporary disability payments from March 26, 2016, to July 23, 2016, and from May 5, 2018, to August 11, 2018. Gaulin claimed that she was unable to work due to injury, despite being employed the entire time.

She pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft and wire fraud on October 13, 2020.

On Tuesday, Gaulin was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison. She will also be required to pay restitution of $760,541.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2021

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island