PLAINVILLE - A local woman is facing a felony larceny charge for allegedly embezzling more than $600 from the Plainville High School’s cheerleading squad.
Shelby Lamothe, 42, has been charged with second-degree larceny.
According to the arrest warrant, Lamothe, the mother of a cheerleader, participated in a candle sale for the squad in November 2016 and pocketed about $682 that was entrusted to her to order the candles that were purchased during the fundraiser. The four-page document said she coordinated the fundraiser, as she was a sales consultant for Partylite, the company from which the candles were to be bought.
Police wrote in the warrant that the fundraiser brought in a total of $1,138. Included in that amount was $455.20 in profit for the PHS cheerleader squad and $682.80 that was needed to place the candle order.
According to the warrant, Lamothe asked that the school write a check to her to place the order. The rest of the money was deposited directly into the cheerleader account.
Between December and March, the warrant continued, multiple people who purchased candles complained that they had not received their order. Lamothe, police said, several times told the purchasers that there had been a backup delay and that they would receive their orders soon. They never did.
Additionally, police said, Lamothe showed the cheerleader coach an email purportedly from a Partylite representative, in which an apology was issued for the delay in the candle orders. The email went on to say that a full refund would be issued by Partylite. The transmission had the incorrect amount for the order.
When police spoke to the representative whose name was on the apology email, the warrant said, she told them she had never sent it and that Partylite never received an order from the cheerleading squad.
As a result, the warrant said, the school reimbursed everyone who had made a purchase. This included taking the $455.20 back from the cheerleading squad, leaving it with no money to start its 2017-2018 season. It also left the school out of the $682.80 that was reportedly given to Lamothe.
According to the warrant, the Partylite representative who spoke to police also told investigators that she had received another complaint from a customer who placed an order with Lamothe and never received the products. She ended up reimbursing the customer out of her own pocket.
Furthermore, police said at the time the warrant was written that Lamothe was also being investigated for funds missing from the Plainville Little League’s auxiliary fund.
Police said she was responsible for managing this fund. Investigators spoke to Lamothe in March, when she said she would gather some documentation and do another interview with police to explain the missing funds from the Little League account, according to the warrant.
As of June 15, when police signed the warrant, Lamothe had not spoken to police and did not return their phone calls.
Lamothe, of 30 Maxine Road, was charged in the cheerleader case last month. She is free on a $1,500 non-surety bond, and has pleaded not guilty. She is scheduled to appear in Bristol Superior Court on Sept. 6.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.