SKOWHEGAN — A Skowhegan woman is facing a Class B theft charge after allegedly taking more than $10,000 from a local family business where she was employed.

Staci Tozier, 48, of Skowhegan, worked at Central Maine Wreath, at 228 North Ave., where she was an office administrator for about five-and-a-half years. She worked alongside Ambrose “Tom” McCarthy, 77, who said that she was authorized to sign checks on behalf of the business to pay bills and company expenses.

Tom McCarthy poses Thursday at his place of business, McCarthy Enterprises on North Avenue in Skowhegan. Morning sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

Central Maine Wreath, a part of McCarthy Enterprises and a family-owned business for more than four decades, produces handmade wreaths, centerpieces, garland, crosses and canes. McCarthy also owned rental properties, a gravel pit and storage units.

McCarthy said that he learned about missing money after being contacted by a relative who works at a bank in town asking him for a $1,200 check that was supposed to be deposited.

“I just couldn’t find the check,” McCarthy said.

He said that he approached Tozier about the check. After that, he went into a restaurant in town that Tozier worked at and said that the tone of an exchange between them was much different from previous exchanges, and it gave him a bad feeling.

“I came back to my office person and said that I didn’t like the feeling that I just got, so I told him to dig and see if I’m missing any more checks,” McCarthy said. “We went back three months initially, and then my office man came back to me and said that I wouldn’t like what he had found.”

Tom McCarthy poses for a portrait Thursday at his place of business, McCarthy Enterprises on North Avenue in Skowhegan. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

In March 2019, McCarthy went to Skowhegan police and reported the theft, which was investigated by Officer Kris McKenna.

In September 2019, Tozier was summoned to appear for a November court date to answer to a charge of theft by unauthorized taking. In November, Tozier was formally charged with theft of more than $10,000 and that jail time and restitution of $86,000 was requested.

Tozier appeared for a dispositional conference on Jan. 29. Kennebec and Somerset County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said that dispositional conferences are composed of prosecutors, the district attorney, a judge and the defendant.

“It’s a conference, not a hearing,” Maloney said. “These conversations take place privately.”

Maloney confirmed that Tozier has been charged with Class B Theft, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, but she could not get into the specifics of the case or confirm that Tozier took $86,000 from the business as the case is still ongoing. However, she did say that for a charge like this, “we have to prove that the value is more than $10,000.”

Maloney confirmed that the next dispositional conference will take place on April 22.

The Morning Sentinel reached out to Tozier for comment, but after asking what the inquiry was about, she did not respond.

Tom McCarthy poses Thursday for a portrait at his place of business, McCarthy Enterprises on North Avenue in Skowhegan. Morning Sentinel photo by Michael G. Seamans

 

IMPACT ON McCARTHY 

McCarthy claims that in the time Tozier was employed by him, $86,000 went missing from his business, according to his check records.

“Part of this I own responsibility for. I’ve always been able to dig myself out of a hole, but I just couldn’t do it.”

McCarthy said that he has not been able to pay bills.

“No matter how hard we worked, how hard we tried, it just wasn’t enough money to pay the bills.” McCarthy said.

He had to sell real estate properties and storage units to make up for the income he lost as a result of the theft. He said he lost $1,350 a month from the rental properties and $1,500 a month from the storage units. With the loss of the properties valued at $120,000, the loss of income received from those properties and legal fees he’s had to pay, he said he’s out close to half a million dollars.

“I couldn’t make the house payments, so the bank took two houses. The bank sued me for $90,000 for legal fees and losses, so I had to sell my storage units.”

Additionally, McCarthy said that his accountant hasn’t been able to file income taxes for three years and has been working with the IRS to figure out what the next steps are.

“Our credit has been shut off all around town. We were behind at the banks, and these are people that we have had accounts with for 40 years,” McCarthy said. “Banks won’t even look at me. I haven’t taken any vacations, I’m not into anything that is costly and I’ve been working six to seven days a week almost every week.”

McCarthy said that most of his staff at Central Maine Wreath is paid in cash.

“Some of the people that come in might be in here two times, some might be in here 10,” he said. “We don’t want to write out 40 checks a day, so we pay in cash.”

“It’s a very busy place. … I suspect that there is a fair amount of cash missing, but we cannot prove it.”

McCarthy said that the situation has been devastating on all fronts for him.

“I’ve lost my mother, father, my brother. My daughter and her son were murdered and nothing has kept me awake at night like this has,” he said.

McCarthy said that he still maintains a friendly acquaintanceship with Tozier’s family, who own a restaurant in town, and said that he has not been met with any hostility.

“There are no winners,” McCarthy said. “Just losers and a lot of sadness.”

Comments are not available on this story.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.