A head teller at a Western Massachusetts credit union has been charged with embezzling $58,000 from her employer after police became suspicious of a story she told claiming that she was the victim of extortion.
Felisa Kazimierczak reportedly told police that she received a note last week threatening her 15-year-old daughter with harm unless the money was delivered, The Berkshire Eagle reports.
Kazimierczak, 43, a head teller at Greylock Federal Credit Union at a branch in Pittsfield, was instructed to place the money in a bag and take it to a specified location, according to a police report. The note also warned her not to call police.
Police were informed of the supposed crime after Kazimierczak allegedly gave the money to the extortionists.
Police say Kazimierczak told two different stories as to how the instructions for dropping off the money came to her. She initially said the instructions were contained in a second note found inside her car.
Kazimierczak later said, however, that she had been given additional instructions by phone. It was after she spoke with police for a second time that officials became suspicious of Kazimierczak's story and arrested her.
"Although later retracted, there was no second note by Felisa Kazimierczak's own admission, further suggesting there was no actual extortion but rather an inadequately planned embezzlement," Pittsfield Police Detective Timothy J. Koenig wrote in his report.
Police say surveillance cameras showed that no one went near her car, a claim Kazimierczak's husband, David, disputes.
In addition to the charge of embezzlement, Kazimierczak also faces charges of reporting a false crime and witness intimidation, for allegedly misleading police, the Eagle notes. She has pleaded not guilty to all three charges.
Kazimierczak was released on personal recognizance and is set to appear in court later this month. It isn't known whether she is still employed by the credit union or whether the money has been recovered.
Kazimierczak faces up to 15 years in prison on the embezzlement charge alone, but maintains that she was the victim of a crime.
"She denies this is a false report," the Eagle quotes her attorney, Jill Sheldon, as saying. "She's fighting this."
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