The owner of a Toledo tax and bookkeeping firm pleaded no contest Monday to one count of grand theft and two counts of forgery for stealing from a client and forging two checks from another.
Denise Blissard, 38, of 3532 Rushland Ave., the owner of Professional Tax & Bookkeeping Service and Just Got Paid LLC, was then found guilty of the charges — all fourth-degree felonies — by Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Ruth Ann Franks.
She is to be sentenced July 28.
While Blissard faces up to 54 months in prison, Brad Smith, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said he would recommend she be sentenced to community control rather than prison because she had no criminal record and because she would be in a better position to repay her victims if she is on probation and working.
Mr. Smith told the court that in 2011, Blissard was hired by Bio-Dri Michigan LLC to process its payroll and withhold and pay its state and federal taxes. He said she withdrew $18,632 from Bio-Dri’s account and deposited it into her account but did not remit the money to the government.
Then, while under indictment for grand theft in that case, he said, Blissard deposited two checks for $7,846 each on Feb. 13 and March 6 from the non-profit organization, Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism, which had hired Blissard’s firm to pay its bills and do its bookkeeping. Mr. Smith said she forged the name of the organization’s director on the checks.
Blissard is expected to be ordered to pay $15,692 in restitution to the collaborative, but the amount owed to Bio-Dri has not yet been determined.
Judge Franks cautioned Blissard that by entering a plea to felony charges, she likely could and would have her CPA license suspended or revoked.
Blissard told the court she was still operating her business but that she anticipated selling it.
Her attorney, Stephen Hartman, said afterward that “a tremendous personal crisis” was a contributing factor to much of what happened.
“She is someone who never ever thought she would find herself in this position,” he said. “She has always led a completely law-abiding life and therefore to find herself in the position that she is — even if it’s because of something that she did — is really, really difficult.”
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: email@example.com or 419-213-2134.