CHESHIRE — A Naugatuck woman accused of embezzling $253,000 from customers of the bank she worked for told police her troubles started after giving birth to her child and becoming addicted to pain pills.
Sarah Kwasinskas, 30, of 39 A Cherry St., Naugatuck, was arrested by Cheshire police after a three month investigation by police and her former employer, Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan. The investigation revealed she had made 77 withdrawals over a nearly one-year period. The money, totaling $253,717, came from certificate of deposit accounts of 17 different people, including Kwasinskas’ own grandmother, according to an arrest warrant from Cheshire police.
According to the warrant, bank employees began to suspect Kwasinskas was stealing on Oct. 24. Kwasinskas, who had worked at the 1966 Highland Ave. branch as a teller supervisor for four years, became ill at work and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Before she was put on a stretcher she kept saying she hadn’t balanced her cash drawer. When the branch manager tried to balance her cash drawer later in the day, she noticed it was short approximately $2,250.
The bank conducted an audit to examine the Oct. 24 discrepancy, leading to a broader look at several months of transactions by Kwasinskas. The review uncovered more and more withdrawals without corresponding paperwork, according to the warrant.
Kwasinskas told police on Nov. 11 that her problems started after the birth of her daughter on July 20, 2010, by Caesarean section. After the birth of the child, she was prescribed prescription painkillers on which she became dependent, she said.
Financial difficulties added to her problems. Her husband’s landscaping business was not bringing in any money and her car was repossessed several times, she told police. She said she began buying pain pills from dealers on the streets in Waterbury.
The bank audit, which was turned over to police as evidence, showed the withdrawals began on Nov. 15, 2010, and continued until Oct. 24, 2011. The bank audit indicates deposit entries on the customers’ accounts. For each account there is a withdrawal of the same amount as the deposit without accompanying paperwork. The cash that was withdrawn went into Kwasinskas’s pocket, according to the warrant.
Kwasinskas told police that she had planned to put the money back. She admitted to police that she hadn’t kept track of the accounts she took money from, or the amounts she took.
She admitted to police that she made withdrawals approximately every two weeks, but told them she took much less, $60,000 to $80,000, by her estimates.
She told police “all the money is gone.”
Detective Kerry Nastri investigated the case over three months. Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan Security Officer Tom O’Neil first reported the embezzlement to Cheshire police on Oct. 27.
Kwasinskas was arrested on a warrant last week and is free after posting a $10,000 bond. She is due in Meriden Superior Court on Feb. 16. She has not entered a plea yet.
According to the warrant, Kwasinskas was suspended without pay from her job on Oct. 28 and has since been fired. The bank has since made restitution to its customers.