Former St. Mark’s Catholic Church nursery school director Lisa Wallace, 41, 997 Main St., Apt. 15, Wakefield, Mass., has been accused of theft of St. Mark’s nursery school funds. “Lisa Wallace, who served as Director of St. Mark Nursery School from September 2008 to June 2012, was arrested by Londonderry police on June 7, 2013 for the theft of St. Mark Nursery School funds,” Kevin Donovan, Director of Communication for the Diocese of Manchester, said in a statement June 13.
According to the arrest affidavit, on April 2, 2013 Detective Kristen L. Gore was notified by David Gabert, the Director of Parish and School Financial Services for the Diocese of Manchester, that Wallace made many inappropriate and unapproved withdrawals and purchases on the nursery school checking account during her employment at the school, starting in September 2008 until after her resignation on June 7, 2012. The account in question, Gore said, is at St. Mary’s Bank, 50 Nashua Road in Londonderry.
Gore was called in by the Diocese to handle the internal investigation regarding the missing funds.
Gore said in her affidavit that in the summer of 2011, the Rev. Frederick Pennett made the decision to have the parish bookkeeper do the nursery school payroll. In the spring of 2012, Pennett set in motion the plan to have all of the nursery school finances completed by the parish. Shortly after, on May 21, 2012, Wallace notified the parish that she was resigning. Her last day of employment at the school was June 7, 2012.
Gore said Wallace did not turn in her school-issued debit card and on June 11, 2012, four days after her last day of employment, Wallace made eight ATM (automatic teller machine) cash withdrawals in Wakefield, Mass., for $300 each, totaling $2,400.
“In my review of the documentation provided by Mr. Gabert, I found that Lisa Wallace made what appeared to be 80 debit card transactions totaling $15,571.06,” Gore wrote. “These transactions started in June 2011 and ended on June 11, 2012. Out of the 80 transactions made, 10 were committed within the town of Londonderry that could not be explained. Seven of these were ATM cash withdrawals at the St. Mary’s Bank ATM machine and three purchases made to include a local nail salon, the T.J. Maxx clothing store and Dunkin’ Donuts. The total amount of unauthorized transactions made by Lisa Wallace in the town of Londonderry is $1,576.70.”
According to Gore, on June 12, 2013, upon realizing these “very suspicious” ATM withdrawals and purchases, church personnel notified St. Mary’s Bank to freeze Lisa Wallace’s debit card and to freeze all related accounts. Since that date, there have been no further “questionable” transactions on any of the accounts, she said. Wallace hired Attorney Sandra Bloomenthal and turned herself in to Londonderry police on Friday, June 14.