RICHMOND — A local woman is scheduled to make her initial appearance Tuesday in a Sagadahoc County court on charges of theft and forgery alleging she stole thousands of dollars while an employee of a town credit union.

Clarissa Hurley, 50, of Richmond, has been charged with two counts of theft and one of forgery, all felonies, following the discovery of unauthorized withdrawals from an account at Down East Credit Union on Main Street, where she worked.

Richmond police Chief Scott MacMaster said Thursday that officials from Down East Credit Union contacted him late last year about a possible theft by an employee at the credit union. After credit union officials conducted an internal audit of accounts in November, they forwarded the information to the Richmond Police Department.

“I don’t know what brought her to the attention of investigators other than she was a teller (at the credit union),” Leonard Sharon, Hurley’s attorney, said Thursday. “Until we see the evidence, we can’t believe there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that she stole money from anyone.”

Following an investigation by Sgt. James Donnell that included interviews and documentation by the credit union, MacMaster said Hurley was charged in March.

Police identified two victims: the credit union itself, and an account holder whose name was allegedly forged and from whose account $8,500 was taken.

“It was actually the keen ear of a teller at a different branch who picked up on the fact that the victim was living out of state, and had researched an account after overhearing a conversation between two members,” MacMaster said.

The teller, he said, told her supervisor what she had found.

“It would have been discovered at some point, but it was discovered sooner rather than later because of the teller’s keen ear,” MacMaster said.

Sharon said it’s possible the initial appearance will be rescheduled because in the case of a felony charge, the district attorney is obligated to bring the matter before a grand jury.

A message to the credit union seeking comment was not returned immediately Thursday.

In April, a fire was reported at the home of Brian and Clarissa Hurley at 28 Hurley Drive. No one was at home when the fire was reported shortly before 4 p.m. April 19. Firefighters from more than a half-dozen communities responded to knock down the fire in the single-family home with an attached garage. Hurley Drive is off Langdon Road, north of Route 197 in this northern Sagadahoc County town.

The cause of the fire has been under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office. Sgt. Joel Davis said Thursday the cause of the fire is undetermined and will remain that way. The fire is believed to have started in the laundry room, he said.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

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Twitter: @JLowellKJ