Scanlon case: It’s uncertain how much money the city might recover

Will the city ever receive restitution for all the money stolen by Sharon Scanlon? That is uncertain, and partly depends on the determination of how much money was actually stolen.

Scanlon was charged in the original indictment with stealing $914,000 in city money over a decade, through July 2012.

In the plea agreement she reached today in state Superior Court, Scanlon pleaded “no contest” to two felony counts that involved stealing $478,000 from 2008 to 2012. State’s Attorney Kevin Lawlor said this was due to a five-year statute of limitations.

Lawlor said efforts will be made to get back all of the $478,000 that Scanlon now has admitted taking through her plea. He noted that she already has provided the city with some of the funds by giving back her contributions to the municipal pension plan.

Dow: City should sue its auditor

William Dow III, Scanlon’s attorney, said the city of Shelton was insured for some of the losses. Dow also said the city can go after the auditing firm that was paid to check the city’s books through a lawsuit. “There’s potential for action against them,” he said.

Dow said it was “stunning” that the theft of municipal funds weren’t caught earlier by someone, whether the auditors or someone in city government.

“That to me is as stunning as the inability of the St. Louis Cardinals to play a halfway decent game last night at Fenway Park,” he said, referring to how the Cardinals were beaten badly by the Boston Red Sox in the first game of the World Series on Wednesday evening.

During Scanlon’s court appearance, Judge John Ronan said restitution by Scanlon will involve “whatever the city doesn’t recover through other sources.”

His comment appeared to be consistent with what Lawlor had just said earlier during the court hearing. Lawlor said the judicial probation office will oversee the restitution efforts.

Lauretti: Some funds already recovered

Mayor Mark Lauretti has said the city already has recovered about $640,000 through an insurance policy and Scanlon’s voluntary forfeiture of city pension payments.

That amount would represent about two-thirds of the funds allegedly stolen by Scanlon, based on the original indictment.

The city also is seeking restitution by filing a lawsuit against Scanlon and by placing a lien against her Crescent Drive home.

The mayor has been criticized for not having a bond on Scanlon in her city position. This would have involved purchasing a fidelity bond to cover any theft of money by a person, and such bonds are sometimes purchased by employers for people in positions with access to, or oversight of, large amounts of money.

However, Lauretti has said the city did receive a large payment in the Scanlon case from a more general insurance policy that included theft coverage.