Police charge Waterbury woman in theft from town of Prospect

Tomeckha Gilkes

PROSPECT — State police charged a Waterbury woman with larceny Thursday after they say she stole about $100,000 from a town payroll account to pay an array of bills, including credit cards and utilities.

Tomeckha Gilkes, 37, was charged with first-degree larceny after an investigation by state police that was initiated after they received a complaint from the town in November 2018.

An accountant for Prospect discovered discrepancies in the payroll records, which is what tipped the town to the alleged theft, according to the arrest warrant for Gilkes.

State police found that more than 100 unauthorized transactions had been made from the town’s Webster Bank payroll account, including purchases for Nordstrom, payments to a debt collection agency, utilities and credit card accounts.

State police traced the transactions, finding that Gilkes’ name was listed as an account holder on payments that were made to those companies starting in 2017.

“We are a victim, one of our bank accounts was compromised,” Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield said. “I found out about this in late 2018. I informed the police, the bank, the insurance company and my town attorney.”

The alleged theft wouldn’t impact town finances “one bit” Chatfield said, as he said the town has a “healthy fund balance.” Chatfield declined to elaborate, saying more information would be forthcoming.

Town budget records show Prospect had an ending fund balance of $2.4 million in June 2018, which they carried over to the next budget year.

What’s missing from Gilkes’ arrest warrant is an indication as to how Gilkes allegedly stole the money from the accounts. State police allege that Gilkes used the bank account and routing numbers from the town’s Webster account during some of the unauthorized transactions.

Chatfield said he had no idea how Gilkes obtained the information about the town’s account.

The town had anti-virus software installed on the computer used for its payroll transactions at the time of the thefts and only one person, a town employee, had access to that computer, according to Gilkes’ arrest warrant.

Gilkes, of Sunnyside Avenue in Waterbury, was held on a $150,000 bond and scheduled to appear in Waterbury Superior Court Friday. It’s unclear if she has an attorney.