By Matthew Robare
Linda Duffy, who used a job at the Saugus Public Library to defraud the library, the GE Foundation, and other institutions, was sentenced to five years in prison by Judge Douglas Woodlock in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts last Thursday.
In addition to jail time, Duffy will have three years of supervised release after her prison term is over and is required to make restitution to the amount of $965,742.
In December of 2011 she was indicted by a grand jury and pled not guilty to four counts of mail fraud, ten counts of money laundering, and aggravated identity theft, according to a press release from the office of Carmen Ortiz, the US attorney for the District of Massachusetts. In September 2012 she was convicted.
“I think she’s getting off easy,” opined Saugus Public Library director Diane Wallace. “Her crimes went on for a lot longer than five years. But it wasn’t up to me. At least she’s paying… We’re happy about that.”
“I’m glad to see that she’s getting some time for it and I hope the town will be the beneficiary of some of that restitution,” said Stephen Castinetti, vice chairman of the Saugus Board of Selectmen.
“I would like to thank GE,” Wallace stated. “They said that if anything were to come back to them they would prefer the library to have it.”
“I was actually with someone from the GE Foundation last night and that’s exactly what he said,” Castinetti said. “I think that’s an outstanding gesture on their part.”
Duffy stole about $400,000 from the GE Foundation after stealing the identities of two former employees and making the charity think they were making matching donations to the library. She stole about $450,000 in fines, fees, and other donations to the library between 2004 and 2011.
In 1992 Duffy was indicted in federal court by a grand jury on 13 counts of mail fraud, conspiracy, and perjury involving an insurance company called the American International Adjustment Company, from which she stole $120,000, according to the Boston Globe. In 1993 she pled guilty and was sentenced to 21 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release.
“We changed everything here,” Wallace reflected on whether something like Duffy’s fraud could happen again. “There’s a whole procedure in place from the town treasurer. We’re very confident that there’s nothing happening that shouldn’t be happening.”
“Whether it was long enough or not, I’m not the judge…” Castinetti said of Duffy’s sentence. Wallace added that Duffy is no longer allowed a library card. She noted, “There’s a no trespass order and she’s not allowed to even come in this library.”
According to a spokesperson from the US attorney’s office, who asked not to be quoted, Duffy will have 20 years to pay the restitution. Payments might start in prison, in which case the Bureau of Prisons would set up a payment plan, and under supervised release federal probation officers will be in charge of collecting the payments. After the supervised release is completed, the spokesperson said that the Financial Litigation Unit of the US Attorney’s Office would take over. The spokesperson added that the unit would be very aggressive in getting Duffy to pay.