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Latest News - May 2011

May 12, 2011
Union members charged with embezzlement
Source: Eagle-Tribune
By: J.J. Huggins

METHUEN — Two Methuen public school custodians were charged yesterday with embezzling thousands of dollars from their union.

Police charged former union treasurer Patrick Winn with 27 counts of larceny by check for a total of $22,400 taken from the union. They charged another former union treasurer, Beth Reuter, with 30 counts of larceny by check for a total of $6,235.95 taken from the union, according to Chief Joseph Solomon.

Reuter is head custodian at Comprehensive Grammar School. Winn is a custodian at Timony Grammar School. They were both officers in the Methuen Custodial Association Local 1904.

Winn endorsed 27 checks to himself from the union's bank account during a one-year period in 2010, Solomon said.

Reuter endorsed more than 30 checks to herself during a five-year period, Solomon said.

Police charged Reuter with embezzling less than half of what she actually took, because the statute of limitations bars them from charging her for anything she did prior to 2005, Solomon said.

The Eagle-Tribune reported in March that Winn paid restitution to the union.

Solomon said Winn and Reuter both returned some of the money they took.

"Even if it was paid back, it still constituted the crimes of either embezzlement or larceny over $250, so the complaints were issued," Solomon said.

Emails obtained by The Eagle-Tribune revealed that the union conducted an internal investigation.

Ken DiGuilio, the newly elected secretary/treasurer of the union, contacted police, Solomon said.

DiGuilio did not return a call seeking comment.

Winn and Reuter will be summonsed to Lawrence District Court for arraignment on June 3 at 8 a.m.

Winn's attorney, Arthur Broadhurst, declined to comment yesterday, saying it was the first time he heard about the charges. He said police never interviewed Winn.

Winn stepped down from his union post, Broadhurst previously said.

Reuter did not return calls seeking comment.

Winn and Reuter have run into trouble with the law in the past.

Methuen police arrested Winn in March 2009 on gambling charges. Police charged him with taking, allowing or being present during betting and using a telephone for gaming after two men said they placed bets of thousands of dollars on sports with him.

District Court Judge Kevin Gaffney dismissed the first charge at the request of prosecutors, but Winn admitted to sufficient facts for the second charge. Gaffney continued the case without a finding until this June 14, according to court documents.

Reuter was on probation after police caught her buying cocaine in the Home Depot parking lot while her children waited in her SUV in August 2007, according to court documents.



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