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August 07, 2017

DA: Montgomery County woman stole nearly $1 million from employer

Prosecutors say defendant used identities of former subcontractors to make direct deposits

Investigation Theft
080716_Cushmanmug Source/Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

Christine Cushman, 31, of Douglassville.

The former human resources director of an East Norriton company has been charged in the theft of nearly $1 million from her company, allegedly issuing fraudulent payroll checks in the names of former subcontractors and diverting the funds into a personal bank account.

Christine Cushman, 31, of Douglassville, is accused of stealing $919,301 from HighPoint Solutions LLC, a strategic consulting firm that serves clients in the health care and life sciences industries, Montgomery County prosecutors announced Monday.

Between May 2015 and June 2017, according to investigators, Cushman submitted fraudulent payroll information to Tricore, an outside payroll company, using four different companies and the names of four men who no longer had a business relationship with HighPoint Solutions.

A total of 45 transactions, most in the range of $18,000 to $25,000, were allegedly deposited into Cushman's Univest Bank and Trust Co. bank account.

Cushman began working at HighPoint in 2007 and left for a brief period before resuming her role as director of human resources. She was responsible for preparing and completing a final review of all payroll information.

Tricore approached HighPoint's chief financial officer to review the apparently suspicious activity, and a meeting with East Norriton detectives was held on July 4. Approached by the company's CFO about the apparent thefts, Cushman initially denied wrongdoing but later attempted to develop a plan to pay the funds back, prosecutors said.

Investigators said much of the money Cushman took was used to pay personal debts both electronically and by check.

"Nearly $1 million was stolen from this company by a senior-level, trusted employee," Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said. "Unfortunately, corporate theft is all too prevalent and requires a system of checks and balances within the corporate system to make sure this doesn't happen."

Cushman is charged with theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and identity theft. She posted $10,000 bail and awaits a preliminary hearing on Aug. 22.