Former Londonderry church nursery director loses bid to toss theft case
BRENTWOOD – A former director at a church nursery school in Londonderry accused of embezzling about $18,000 had to drop an argument that her charges should be thrown out court.
Lisa Wallace, 42, of Wakefield, Mass. is accused of using a debit card belonging to St. Mark the Evangelist Church for her own personal use in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Assistant County Attorney Terri Harrington argued that Wallace’s claim that her charges in three Massachusetts district courts amounted to Double Jeopardy was “unusually vague.”
Wallace’s New Hampshire charges are only for withdrawals and transactions that happened in Londonderry – and based on the records of the transactions, according to Harrington.
“These records clearly show when and where these alleged unauthorized transactions took place,” Harrington said in court papers. “There is no question that some transactions took place in Londonderry, NH while many others took place in various Massachusetts jurisdictions during the same alleged time frame.”
The Massachusetts transactions happened in Reading, Saugus and Wakefield, Mass., according to prosecutors.
A court order noted that both parties in the case agreed that Wallace’s argument was “moot” based on Harrington’s response to the Double Jeopardy claims.
That decision clears the way for Wallace to face trial in Rockingham County on felony theft charges on the week of May 5.
She is accused of using the church’s debit card for her own use between September 2008 and June 2012.
Wallace had access to a church bank account designated for buying school supplies, but carried out roughly 80 debit card transactions including purchases for clothing, at a nail salon and at Dunkin’ Donuts, according to police.
She left her job on June 7, 2012, but did not turn in the school-issued bank card on her last day of work and made 8 withdrawals an ATM in Wakefield, Mass. totaling $2,400, according to police.
That same day, Wallace used the card to buy $555.86 in groceries at a Shaw’s Supermarket, police said.
A day after that purchase, church personnel were notified of the withdrawals and had the bank freeze the debit card.
She faces a single count of theft by unauthorized taking in Rockingham County, a charge punishable by up to 7 ½ to 15 years in state prison.