A certified public accountant who stole money from at least two clients was sent to prison Monday, ordered to pay restitution, and told she may never handle others’ money again.
It was the last order of the court that pleased Dan Young, former chief executive officer of BioDri, a small Michigan firm that was bilked out of more than $30,000 by its former accountant, Denise Blissard, owner of Professional Tax & Bookkeeping Service and Just Got Paid, LLC.
“I’m happy. I think justice was served,” Mr. Young said after the sentence was imposed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. “I appreciated what the judge said about her not handling money.”
BioDri, Mr. Young told the court, not only lost money when Blissard stole the company’s cash rather than pay its payroll taxes in 2011.
He said the company had to pay a $4,900 penalty to the Internal Revenue Service. Its owner shut the Michigan office down, and seven people lost their livelihoods.
“You selfishly cured your one financial problem and that cure for you impacted every member of seven families,” he said.
Although Brad Smith, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, asked the court to place Blissard on community control for grand theft and two counts of forgery, Judge Ruth Ann Franks sentenced Blissard, 39, of 3532 Rushland Ave. to 17 months in prison and ordered her to pay $31,275 to BioDri for the grand theft charge.
She placed her on community control for five years and ordered her to pay $6,748 for the forgery counts, which stemmed from two checks Blissard wrote and deposited from the Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism Feb. 13 and March 6, while she was out on bond from the grand theft charge.
“You’re bold. You act demure but you’re bold,” the judge told her.
Judge Franks said Blissard did not cover her face with a ski mask and carry a gun to commit her thefts, but hid behind an innocent appearance to take advantage of a small business and a community service organization that trusted her with their finances.
“You look like an honest young woman, concerned about a business, and you have a gift that can also be a curse — that is, you have the ability to talk in a way that seems to sound very genuine,” the judge said. “… Your weapon is the pen and your theft is by subterfuge.”
While Blissard said repeatedly that she was sorry and took full responsibility for her crimes, Judge Franks said that as recently as last month when Blissard was interviewed for a pre-sentence report, she said she “had no idea” who had written and cashed the two checks from the autism collaborative.
“She’s photographed taking those checks,” an incredulous Judge Franks said.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.