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A human resources manager with Teva was found guilty Tuesday in Bedford County Circuit Court to a charge that she stole $172,000 from her employer.
Deborah Dail, 53, was employed by Teva Pharmaceuticals as its human resources manager for the plant in Forest. According to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney John Wheelock, Dail’s duties included arranging housing for temporary employees at the Forest plant. She used a personal credit card to pay the costs involved and then filed a request for reimbursement. According to Wheelock, she submitted $172,000 in fraudulent payments— 90 requests — which were reimbursed from the beginning of 2011 through the winter of 2012.
“This was a document intensive case,” Wheelock said, after the plea hearing, pointing to the case’s document folders which filled an entire drawer in his office.
Dail entered an Alford plea, which means she maintains her innocence but agrees that the Commonwealth has enough evidence to convict her. It still results in the court finding her guilty — making her a convicted felon. The sentencing guidelines in the case came back calling for no active jail time.
Wheelock thinks that there may have been more money than what was stated in the case involved, but said the 90 requests noted in the evidence were the ones that he could prove were fraudulent.
“In at least one occasion, she arranged housing for somebody who was a non-Teva employee,” he said.
The larceny was discovered by Teva auditors, who went through all her transactions. Wheelock said that the number of requests and the amount drew the company’s attention.
“It was out of the ordinary for a human resources manager,” Wheelock said, adding that the reimbursement amount was higher than what Teva’s president for North American operations had requested.
Wheelock said that Teva contacted Virginia State Police, which led an investigation. He also said that Gary Babb, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office investigator, was instrumental in developing the case because material came in to the office from multiple sources. Babb pulled it together and focused it for Wheelock’s case.
“We spent a year on the case going through the paperwork,” he said.
In court, Dail’s defense attorney, Phillip Baker, questioned whether criminal intent on Dail’s part was involved.
“They had a system that was designed to fail,” Baker said, concerning Teva’s process in which Dail used her personal credit card account for company business and got reimbursed.
Wheelock, however, felt he would have had no problem proving criminal intent, noting that $172,000 in excess of her expenses had been deposited in her account.
“That would probably get your attention that there had been an overpayment,” Wheelock said, adding that she made no attempt to correct it.
Judge James Updike sentenced her in accordance with the plea agreement. She received a five year suspended sentence and five years of supervised probation. She must pay $172,000 in restitution to Teva in payments of not less than $1,000 every month, beginning on July 1.
Wheelock said that he’s satisfied with the deal.