(Delmarvanow.com) -- A Melfa woman accused of embezzling money from her employer was found not guilty in a bench trial.
“I am not convinced she committed a crime,” said Judge W. Revell Lewis III about Mildred Mills, 58, during a Nov. 16 trial. “I am not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Mills was a long-time manager of the Melfa Shore Stop convenience store and was indicted in Accomack County in June 2017 for embezzlement.
Defense attorney Tucker Watson said his client was involved in a rolling system of deposits that hid missing money.
“Rolling covers up mistakes and uses cash from a subsequent day to make up the shortfall in the deposit," he said.
He said Mills did it to cover for other employees who had children to support and whom she did not want to see lose their jobs. The continual covering of missing money came to light when there were two days where no deposits were made and a third with only $300 in a bank bag deposited in a night depository.
“There were three different cash deposits that were supposed to be made and two of those bags never made it to the bank,” said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Randy Fultz.
He said Mills made contradictory statements and avoided meeting with her boss when he called and asked her to meet him at the bank.
“She was not the only employee with access,” said Watson. “There were financial issues at this location for some time.”
He said there had been small amounts missing from time to time on different employee’s shifts. There was more than $6,000 missing from those three bags, said Fultz.
District manager James Townsend explained to the court how the money was handled at the Shore Stops. The manager or assistant manager were to make a deposit each day of the former day’s cash receipts, he told the court.
The whereabouts of the money from the deposits of March 7-9 was never determined. The officer who investigated the missing money said Mills, who has no criminal record, told him repeatedly she did not know where the missing money was.
Mills’ job included making deposits daily, said Lewis. Reading from a record of deposits, he noted some days as many as three or four deposits were made on the same day.