Police charged a former receptionist at a Goffstown veterinary clinic with embezzling $30,000 from her employer over a five-year period, a theft she allegedly covered up by altering treatment records of pets under the clinic’s care, Goffstown police said Monday.
Police said it appears that Melissa A. Huszarski, 31, of 221 Snook Road, Goffstown, pocketed portions of cash payments made by pet owners who brought their animals to Glen Lake Animal Hospital. After charging customers, Huszarski allegedly deleted computer records about treatments and vaccinations delivered to the pets, police said.
“It was hundreds and hundreds of different transactions,” said police Capt. Robert Browne, who said he brings his children’s two Chihuahuas to the clinic.
The president of the company that owns the practice said Huszarski had been an enthusiastic worker and had received a five-year bonus check about a month before the irregularities were discovered.
“Everyone’s very close there, and she had seemed to be an ideal employee,” said Lee Garrod, president of Veterinary Critical Care, which also owns clinics in Lee and southern Maine. “Perhaps we should have done an audit trail, but you trust your employees, especially those who are so enthusiastic.”
Garrod said managers realized something was amiss when they told a pet owner that his dog was due for a Lyme disease shot, citing the pet’s veterinary record. The owner went home and returned with a printed invoice that showed the date of the vaccination and his payment, she said.
Browne said Huszarski would print out the invoices with the correct information for the customer, and then later allegedly altered the records. He said most owners throw away their invoice, and rely on the records of the practice.
Police started the investigation in early July after receiving a complaint from Glen Lake, Browne said. He said the police department put at least 40 hours into the investigation. The audit found that the thefts increased in frequency, from monthly, to weekly, to almost daily, Garrod said.
Garrod said Huszarski was fired in the summer. She started blurting out that it could have been anyone, even though no one had yet accused her of anything, Garrod said. Huszarski stormed out and no one has seen her since, Garrod said.
Garrod said the computer audit trail allows the clinic to know what records Huszarski had altered; proper notations have been made to those records.
Police said Huszarski is being held on $15,000 cash bail and is due to be arraigned this morning in Goffstown District Court. On-line descriptions of the Huszarski home say it is a three-bedroom, 2,300-square-foot home on two acres outside of the downtown. It is owned by a Florida couple.