FARMINGTON — The longtime former treasurer of the Care and Share Food Closet was indicted by a grand jury this week for allegedly stealing more than $10,000 from the organization.

Mary O’Donal, 74, of Farmington, was indicted on a felony charge of theft by unauthorized taking, Class B, after she was summoned by Farmington police for the same charge this spring. She was arraigned on the charge in June, but since she had not been indicted on the charge she did not enter a plea. Class B theft is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

O’Donal is accused of stealing more than $10,000 — the highest amount that’s cited in state felony theft charges — from the nonprofit organization since 2010. She worked as the organization’s treasurer for more than a decade, but voluntarily resigned in November before discrepancies in financial records were realized by the food pantry’s director.

Farmington Police Detective Marc Bowering began investigating the alleged theft after Care and Share Food Closet director Liza Hiltz Scerbo told the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office that she suspected O’Donal had stolen money from the pantry.

In an interview with the Morning Sentinel in July, Bowering could not disclose how much money O’Donal allegedly stole or how the money was taken, though he said a “substantial amount” of money was taken and that O’Donal turned in $15,000 to police.

O’Donal is accused of stealing the money between Jan. 1, 2010, and Jan. 30, 2015.

The Care and Share Food Closet is run by the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry and serves residents of Farmington, New Sharon, Chesterville, Temple, New Vineyard and New Portland.

When Hiltz Scerbo was hired in 2015 as the executive director, she enacted new procedures for how the organization processed the donations it received. The new procedures included having a four-person financial team check and balance the donating process.

Before the system, O’Donal was the only person overseeing the donations process and was the only signer for the charity’s account.

O’Donal’s is one of a string of recent central Maine embezzlement cases.

In June, Claudia Viles was convicted of 13 counts of theft and fraud after she stole more than $500,000 as Anson’s tax collector. Julie Smith was sentenced earlier this month after she pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $100,000 as clerk for the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office.

In a June 26 Morning Sentinel story, law enforcement officials and financial experts said a lack of oversight with small town governments and organizations — allowing one person to handle the money — is a common factor among embezzlement cases.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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