Rhode Island Library Assistant Arrested for Embezzlement
The former administrative assistant of the West Warwick (R.I.) Public Library was arrested February 1 for allegedly embezzling more than $35,000 from the facility. Dana Centolella, 25, was charged with two counts of embezzlement and arraigned in district court. An investigation into alleged misappropriation of funds at the library began in December after Director Frances Farrell-Bergeron became aware of the problem.
Farrell-Bergeron told American Libraries that late in 2001 an employee noticed that the amount on her paycheck was incorrect. Further investigation revealed a wider problem involving manipulation of payroll and benefit funds. An audit of the case is under way, including review of numerous bank records and other paperwork. West Warwick Police Chief Peter Brousseau called the case both unusual and upsetting. “This situation has disrupted the whole process [at the library]. It’s shocking to everyone,” Brousseau said in the February 2 Kent County Daily Times.
The only suspect in the case, Centolella had worked at the library from September 1999 to November 2001. She has no prior arrest record, and is scheduled for a felony screening February 25. A conviction could mean more than a one-year prison sentence and several thousands of dollars in fines.
Farrell-Bergeron said, “The good thing about this is that the auditor has shown me how to tighten internal financial controls,” adding that library schools don’t usually cover that topic.
Posted February 11, 2002.