BRIMFIELD — Kirsten Weldon, the town’s elected treasurer who abruptly resigned in April while an audit of town accounts was underway, was criminally charged on Friday with embezzling more than $80,000.
Weldon, 43, of 48 East Hill Road, who served as Brimfield treasurer from 2003 until her resignation, denied the charges at her arraignment in Palmer District Court before Judge Michael Mulcahy. She’s charged with larceny over $250, larceny over $250 by single scheme and embezzlement by a municipal/county officer.
Weldon, who earned an annual salary of $38,000, allegedly stole $80,868 in town money from 2006 until earlier this year, according to state and local police and the Hampden district attorney.
She attended the arraignment hearing with her parents. They did not comment. Weldon was released on personal recognizance, and the case was continued to Feb. 4.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, selectmen said, “we want the public to know that the board has already acted upon the information revealed to it through the investigation process, in order to create additional safeguards against misallocation or misappropriation of town funds.”
Selectmen say the town’s treasurer now must perform all officials duties at the municipal office building, and that doing the work at home would no longer be tolerated.
State police statement
Following Weldon’s April 3 resignation, selectmen appointed resident Andrea Beaudry to serve as the treasurer until June 2015 when Weldon’s term was to expire.
Town officials attended the Weldon arraignment, including selectman Susan Hilker and police chief Charles T. Kuss.
In an interview, Kuss said theaudit, conducted by Thomas Scanlon, found “a ton of bad bookkeeping” in the treasurer’s office – “on top of the other mess” involving the alleged stolen money.
“My first call was to the district attorney’s office in Springfield to provide guidance” when it became apparent crimes may have been committed, Kuss said. He said reaction in town has ranged from “shock and awe” to thoughts that officials “should have known better.”
“Questions about public trust are very upsetting to all the parties involved – it casts a shadow on public employees. … Should we feel the wrath? It comes with the territory,” Kuss said.