Former City Worker Charged With Embezzlement
State police said Rachel Arruda pocketed close to 400-thousand dollars of tax payer money. She's the second Woonsocket city worker charged with stealing money this year.
Rachel Arruda was a familiar face to many at Woonsocket city hall. “It was very shocking everybody knew her she had been around for so long, ” said Mayor Leo Fontaine
For nearly 30 years, she worked as a municipal court clerk collecting money for speeding tickets or court fees. But investigators say she pocketed some of that money for herself, almost 400-thousand dollars worth!
This is how state police say she did it. “They will come in and pay cash she had her own computer and the city had their own computer so what she was putting down on one computer and relaying to the other computer were two different numbers, ” said CaptainJames Demers of the Rhode Island State Police.
Mayor Leo Fontaine says the investigation started after the city's finance department noticed suspicious activity in numerous transactions when Arruda retired last summer. They handed their findings over to state police.
State police estimate Arruda pocketed about 65 thousand dollars a year over a course of six year. “You question how this could happen, ” said the Mayor.
He says it's something they're trying to figure out, and they're working from the bottom up to make sure it never happens again. “We can not and will not stand for any corruption in any way and when we find it we will push forward with it and prosecute you, ” said Mayor Fontaine.
If convicted, Arruda faces up to ten years in prison.