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Woman Admits Stealing $550K From Cascades: 'A Crime Of Greed'

NEW YORK (From news reports) -- Rensselaer County resident Debra Powers, age 64, of Troy, pleaded guilty to theft and tax fraud in Saratoga County Court on Friday, Jan. 19.

According to prosecutors, Powers admitted to using a company credit card for personal use while employed at Cascades Inc., located in the town of Waterford.

An investigation by New York State Police found that she stole $548,993 over a five-year period.

She concealed the unauthorized purchases by submitting phony, altered, or incomplete receipts, and by claiming that other charges were for legitimate business purposes.

Powers also admitted that the purchases she made using the company credit card resulted in her receiving income that she failed to report on her state tax returns.

An investigation by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance found that she avoided paying over $35,500 in taxes by failing to report the income. She's now liable for that amount, plus penalties and interest.

"This was a crime of greed, opportunity and brazen actions by Debra Powers who put her interests above those of her employer," said Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen.

"Her systematic deception to cover up her long-term larcenous acts for personal gain have resulted in the significant consequences she will face at sentencing."

In court Friday, Powers pleaded guilty to the following charges:

  • Third-degree grand larceny (felony)
  • Fourth-degree criminal tax fraud (felony)

She is expected to get between two and seven years in prison when she's sentenced on Friday, April 19.

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