Crime

When questioned about deposits, Galati Marina employee quit. Then audit showed $67,000 was missing

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A former employee at Galati Marina is charged with stealing more than $67,000 during the four years she worked for the Anna Maria yacht dealership.

Heather Jo O’Leary, 40, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with scheme to defraud. She was released from the Manatee County jail later that day on a $25,000 bond.

O’Leary is looking forward to defending herself in court, according to her attorney Leland Taylor.

“Folks should not rush to judgment. We have no reason to believe due process will not be afforded Ms. O’Leary as the process continues within our fair and reasonable court system and State Attorney’s Office,” Taylor said.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office detectives weren’t able to trace what O’Leary did with the money she stole, because it was all cash, according to the report. But detectives believe she used her authority in a scheme to defraud Galati.

O’Leary resigned her position at Galati Marina in 2018 after she was being questioned about checks that had not been applied to accounts, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. When the human resources director, Fran Galati, conducted an audit, there was $67,927.37 unaccounted for.

According to deputies, deposit slips were being altered after they were prepared at Galati before the deposits were made at the bank. To make up for the shortages in cash, checks were not being applied to customer accounts accurately. Money was also discovered missing from register payouts.

O’Leary was the only employee who handled deposits and register payouts, Galati told detectives.

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Boats sit in the tranquil waters of Galati Yacht Basin on Anna Maria Island. Tiffany Tompkins ttompkins@bradenton.com

At the request of sheriff’s office detectives, according to the report, an audit of the days when O’Leary was out sick or on vacation came back without any shortages.

But O’Leary had been disciplined before for not accurately recording deposits, detectives learned when they went through her personal file.

In July 2017, O’Leary’s supervisor wrote her up for falsifying records and she was suspended for three days without pay. She was told to stop altering the date stamp when checks were received in the mail.

According to the investigation, detectives believe O’Leary was delaying recording the mail with checks to add them to altered deposits.

Jessica De Leon has been covering crime, courts and law enforcement for the Bradenton Herald since 2013. She has won numerous awards for her coverage including the Florida Press Club’s Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting in 2016 for her coverage into the death of 11-year-old Janiya Thomas.
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