By: Patti Weaver

(Stillwater, Okla.) — A 59-year-old Cushing woman has been charged with embezzling about $70,000 while employed at the Cushing Veterinary Clinic from which she was fired in July, Payne County District Attorney Laura Thomas said in a news release Friday.

Denise Leanne Munsell has been scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday on three counts of embezzlement occurring between Jan. 2, 2012, and July 2, 2019, according to the charges filed by Assistant District Attorney Jeremiah Gregory. She remains free on $10,000 cash bond posted Friday, court records show.

If convicted of all counts, Munsell could be imprisoned for as long as 24 years and fined $30,000, court records show.

“Investigations conducted by the Cushing Police Department and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, along with forensic accountings completed by an external accounting firm, revealed Munsell had fraudulently inflated her timesheets, skimmed cash deposits, and credited personal accounts receivable on the company’s books without making payment,” the DA alleged in her news release.

Munsell was a part-time employee of McNeil Well Service and Cushing Veterinary Clinic whose job tasks included completing employee time sheets, billing and receiving, daily deposits, and register reconciliation, according to an affidavit by OSBI agent Rachell Savory.

“Munsell was supervised by Denise McNeil, who co-owned both businesses. McNeil learned Munsell was taking money from deposits and enhancing her timesheets to reflect more than her agreed upon 28-hour workweek. McNeil confronted Munsell, who apologized and agreed to pay back McNeil,” the OSBI agent alleged in her affidavit.

An audit identified inflated regular and vacation hours claimed by Munsell, who as a part-time employee was ineligible for vacation pay or overtime pay, the affidavit alleged.

“McNeil reviewed records, receipts, and deposit transactions between 2012 and 2019. McNeil documented a loss over $30,000 in fraudulent time earnings. McNeil documented a loss over $30,000 in cash deposit discrepancies,” the affidavit alleged.

In an interview with the OSBI agent, “Munsell admitted that she inflated her time sheets to reflect errands she completed off-the-clock. Munsell felt she was owed the extra time she claimed. Munsell admitted to crediting her veterinary account and other accounts to reflect payment was made by credit card and not posting the credit card payments. Munsell explained she paid those funds back as requested,” the affidavit alleged.

In a news release, the DA said that embezzlements committed against small business owners and non-profit entities totaled over $7 million in Payne County during the past five years.

“This case is an example of the many small businesses, trusts, and non-profit entities in our county that have suffered losses from employees, agents, and trustees who have stolen money and property out from under them. It has a profound impact on the local economy when small businesses suffer these losses.

“Many small businesses are already struggling to stay solvent. Embezzlements are a license to steal and will not be tolerated,” the DA said.