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May 21. 2013 10:24PM

Suit: Claremont's North Country Smokehouse claims $606,011 spent on diamond, SUV, more

CLAREMONT — North Country Smokehouse filed civil action Friday in Sullivan County Superior Court, alleging office manager Bonnie Johnson embezzled more than $600,000 from the company and spent it on luxury items including a $30,000 diamond ring, motorcycles and Mercedes SUV.

President and owner of the company Michael Satzow discovered the embezzling in late April when Johnson was away on vacation, according to court documents.

“There is a substantial danger the property sought to be attached will be damaged, destroyed, concealed or removed from the state and placed beyond the attachment jurisdiction of the court,” an ex parte motion attached to the civil suit says.

According to the motion filed in Sullivan County Superior Court on Friday, Johnson embezzled $606,011.77 using company checks issued fraudulently to herself from 2005 to 2013.

She also spent an unknown amount on a company credit card, according to the court filing.

According to North Country Smokehouse’s website, the 101-year-old company sells smoked hams, bacon, turkey, sausages, chicken, duck, brisket and cheese, and is one of the country’s last family-owned smokehouses.

The ex parte motion seeks to stop Johnson from selling items allegedly purchased with the money including the diamond ring, SUV and several Harley-Davidson motorcycles and snowmobiles.

Satzow described Johnson as a trusted employee of North Country Smokehouse.

The office manager reported directly to Satzow, and handled all aspects of the company’s finances, the court document said.

When contacted, Police Chief Alexander Scott declined to comment on whether there was a police investigation. Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway also would not comment.

mpierce@newstote.com


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