Wood County BOE files lawsuit

PARKERSBURG -Officials on behalf of the Wood County Board of Education have filed suit in circuit court to recoup insurance claims paid out due to employee theft.

Westfield Insurance Co., as a “subrogee” of the Wood County Board of Education, filed suit in Wood County Circuit Court against Melissa G. Lott, a former school secretary at Blennerhassett Middle School.

The company is suing Lott to recover close to $17,000 she stole from the school over a nearly four-year period. The missing funds were discovered during an annual audit.

Lott obtained checks from the school and cashed them at various location throughout Parkersburg and Wood County. Lott told investigators she committed the crime from July 2007 until May 2011. She worked for the county school system since November 2001 until her termination in October 2011.

Lott was fired by the board after she was charged with embezzlement. She had been suspended without pay by the school system since June 2011, when she was arrested and charged, and the board refused to approve a resignation request.

The 47-year-old Parkersburg woman admitted to law enforcement of her embezzling funds. She pleaded guilty.

Lott was sentenced by Wood County Circuit Court Judge J.D. Beane last fall. She was given a 1-to-10 year sentence with two days credit and suspended in lieu of five years probation. Lott was ordered to pay restitution of $13,413.01.

The suit filed insurance company seeks judgment in the amount of $16,834.76. The amount includes interest, court costs and attorney fees.

“…for recovery of payment for an insurance claims it paid out due to employee theft of corporate funds,” the complaint states.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Court Judge Bob Waters.