Kimball Perry reports:
Marci Wheeler was suspicious.
She noticed two different companies billing Dominion Liquid Technologies, the Fairfax company where she is controller, for the same product that keeps the syrups and other liquids the company makes from foaming up.
That curiosity culminated Monday when former Dominion employee Cathleen Schmid was sent to prison by Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Jerome Metz., Jr., for two years for stealing $214,717 from the company. Dominion was the third employer she’s been convicted of stealing from but the first time she went to prison for it.
“I noticed two things that happened at the exact same time,” Wheeler said after Schmid, 47, of West Chester, was sentenced. Schmid was the company’s purchasing and human relations manager making $65,000 annually.
In addition to seeing two different companies billing Dominion for the same product at the same time, Wheeler noticed a new vendor billed them $3,000 for four drums of cleaning products, an unusually high cost.
Wheeler’s sleuthing revealed that the new vendor was fictitious, made up by Schmid to help cover her theft of $214,000 from the small company that makes and bottles coffees and syrups.
Schmid blamed some unnamed malady for continuing to steal from her employers and asked for help for that malady instead of prison time.
“I know ‘I’m sorry’ is not nearly enough,” she told the judge. “I understand that I need to be punished for what I did.
“I want to get some kind of theft treatment program. I don’t intentionally hurt people. I need to know why I do this.”
That brought a quick response fro Assistant Prosecutor Bill Anderson.
“She is compelled to steal,” Anderson said. “(Dominion) employees were not able to receive raises and things of that nature” due to Schmid’s theft.
The crime wasn’t new to Schmid, the daughter of a deceased Cook County, Ill., judge. She was convicted in:
- 2006 for stealing $51,126.82 from Hills Developers, where Schmid worked from March 2003 to August 2005. She also used fake invoices there to help her steal company money. She was placed on probation and ordered to repay the company;
- 2009 for stealing $10,000 from her Mason employer, National Starch, now known as Henkel Co. She was placed on probation for three years in 2009 and ordered to spend 150 days in jail on a work release program. She was working for Dominion at that time;
- 2000 in Clermont County for a theft case for which she received probation, the judge said Monday. It’s unclear if that conviction was for stealing from an employer.
She was hired by Flavored Syrups in 2007, a 10-employee company later bought by Dominion. It now has about three dozen employees.
When police finally caught up to Schmid in August, she was working for a Tipp City, Ohio, company, falsely telling its owners her last name was Schmidt, adding a “t” to prevent background checks from discovering her criminal past.
In addition to her prison sentence, the judge also ordered her to repay Dominion the $214,000 she stole. The company also filed a Nov. 8 civil suit against Schmid, accusing her of fraud and unjust enrichment. It accuses her of using company software to create fake bills to help her steal the money to pay her rent and other living expenses.
She also used some of the money stolen from Dominion to repay the money stolen from her earlier employers.