Salem, Mass. – A former businesswoman who stole more than $500,000 from a Lawrence nursing home was sentenced to a year and a half in state prison and was also ordered to house arrest and pay restitution after his release.
Sherry Verdick, 45, of Methuen, pleaded guilty to 16 indictments, which included multiple theft, forgery and related charges associated with the theft of $535,000 from the Berkeley Retirement and Nursing Home during a a hearing in Salem Superior Court on Tuesday.
The theft occurred through various schemes, with Verdick exploiting his “position of trust among a vulnerable population” at the Berkeley home, said Gretchen Brodigan, an assistant attorney general who prosecuted the case.
Verdick declared “guilty” out loud in the courtroom as a clerk read aloud each charge and details.
Responding to a question from the judge, Verdick said she takes Suboxone, a drug used on Tuesday to treat opioid addiction, daily. His defense attorney previously said Verdick developed an opioid addiction after being prescribed OxyContin and Percocet after knee surgery in 2014.
Verdick faces maximum sentences of 5 and 10 years in state prison for numerous charges.
In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Kathleen McCarthy-Neyman sentenced Verdick to five years probation after his release. She must spend the first 9 months in home confinement and is only allowed to leave her home for medical appointments for herself and her son or to undergo a court-ordered drug test.
Additionally, while on probation, she must undergo substance abuse evaluation and treatment, be barred from working in any job where she handles money, and must stay away from the Berkeley facility. A restitution hearing will be scheduled after he is released from prison, McCarthy-Neyman explained.
While she pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Verdick will not have to appear in court until October 12 to begin her sentence.
Prosecutors had wanted Verdick sentenced to two to three years in jail or prison, followed by five years probation with a series of conditions including the payment of restitution.
But her lawyer Hilary McCamic, at a hearing this summer, suggested that a two-year prison sentence against Verdick could be suspended, and that she could spend that time on a GPS monitor which only allowed her to leave. home to work and buy groceries.
McCarthy-Neyman said on Tuesday she had considered contributions from both sides, but would hand down the sentence of a year and a half in prison and five years probation to follow.
From January 2016 to September 2018, Verdick wrote 394 checks totaling $412,000 to herself, according to the charges.
She also forged her signature on eight other checks, used a company credit card to illegally purchase $19,000 worth of items for herself, and settled for $10,500 in health care costs that she should have paid herself to be paid into a Berkeley account, Brodigan said.
Verdick is also accused of stealing money from the estate of a deceased Berkeley resident, Brodigan said.
She pleaded guilty to five counts of theft of property over $1,200 by a single scheme, theft over $1,200, theft over $250 by a single scheme, two counts of making false entries in the company’s books with intent to defraud, three counts of forgery, three counts of pronouncing and obtaining a signature under false pretences, according to court documents .
Colleagues at Berkeley released impact statements about the theft, which injured both residents of the 40-bed facility and employees, who have not had a raise in years, they said. declared.
One worker noted that many residents “trusted and, in many cases, loved” Verdick.
Director of Nursing Denise Murray said Berkeley staff are proud of the excellent and dedicated care for residents. Verdick’s behavior was “selfish and self-centered,” she said. She described the toll on Berkeley as “ongoing and unnecessary.” Others said the budget remained rudimentary due to the losses.
“Every day we think we might lose our jobs and what would happen to our beloved residents?” asked a group of members of Berkeley’s management team in a victim impact statement that Brodigan read to the judge.
Through McCamic, Verdick apologized for her behavior, for the trust she betrayed in the House of Berkeley and the impact it had on her family.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.