Bookeeper gets prison for theft

A former bookkeeper at a Lafayette spa who embezzled $187,778 was sentenced Friday to 37 months in prison and ordered to repay the money.

Angie C. Normand was accused of writing checks to herself for cash, secretly increasing her own salary and then doctoring the financial records to cover up the fraud while working as bookkeeper for Coccolare Spa from 2007 to 2011.

Spa owner Dr. Cynthia Glass told U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Foote before the sentencing that her business was heading toward financial ruin until a careful review of the books uncovered the embezzlement.

“Gradually, after Angie came to work for us, I had to borrow more and more money,” Glass said. “... The spa was about to fail when I finally discovered the problem.”

Glass said she had given Normand complete oversight of the business’s finances, even taking responsibility away from another employee at the urging of Normand, who Glass characterized as “very manipulative.”

Glass said an initial look at her books by outside accountants found expenses rising sharply while income remained unchanged.

“They spent a couple of days and found volumes of hidden information,” she said.

Normand told Foote that she had moved to Lafayette a few years ago “to start a new life” but found herself in a stressful situation caring for an older man she had moved in with who developed a terminal illness and refused to look for work.

“Events in my life made me so desperate that I felt I had no choice,” Normand said.

Normand’s attorney, Michael Skinner, cited issues of alcohol abuse, codependency and depression.

Normand faced from 30 to 37 months under federal sentencing guidelines.

Foote sentenced Normand to the maximum of 37 months and ordered her to repay the money she embezzled from the business.