(Delmarva Now) -- A woman employed as administrative director for the Eastern Shore Association of Realtors pleaded guilty in an Accomack County court to embezzling more than $160,000 from that organization.
Laura Flournoy, 50, of Parksley was originally set for a bench trial, but changed her plea to guilty Sept. 28. Flournoy worked for the association from 2005 until 2015. She was charged with 12 counts of embezzlement from the association.
The charges date from July 2009 until May 28, 2015. The theft was discovered when an audit was conducted. Discrepancies came to light when auditors found a big difference between amounts paid to Suburban propane in the years 2013 and 2014. When auditors went to that business and checked the ledger, they found the ledger differed from actual payments.
They found numerous checks made out by Flournoy paid to herself. On June 8, 2015, the defendant met with the association’s board and gave a letter of resignation effective immediately, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Spencer Morgan.
She informed those present that she had been embezzling but had no idea how much, he told the court. Flournoy admitted to a police investigator she had been stealing and writing checks to herself, Morgan said.
“Almost all were coded for propane, office supplies, MLS operations, but were made out to Laura Flournoy," he said. “Some checks were written directly to horse shows.
“They found a check written for $10,000 for the purchase of a horse,” Morgan said.
Defense attorney Carl Bundick told the court his client showed “great remorse” and that she asked the court to commit her to the custody of the sheriff immediately.
“She feels it is appropriate to begin serving her time today,” he said. Bundick said the matter of restitution will be taken up at her sentencing.
“This was a calculated and organized system you set up,” said Judge W. Revell Lewis, III.
He ordered that a presentence investigation report be prepared and said, “You are remanded to the custody of the sheriff to await sentencing.”
Flournoy was expressionless as she was led from the room by court bailiffs.