With Sharon Scanlon's "no-contest" plea Thursday to stealing about $478,000 in Shelton's funds between 2008 and 2012, the city is free to pursue ways to collect restitution.
But the question now becomes, how did the thefts go undiscovered? That's what Scanlon's attorney, William Dow, asked after her court hearing Thursday, as did two democratic candidates, Chris Jones and mayoral candidate David Gioiello.
Reached by phone after the hearing, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti said, "We're in discussions with the insurance company" to recover some of the funds. He added that he needed to consult with the city attorneys regarding any possible action against the auditors who didn't catch the theft.
The theft was discovered when a finance office worker noticed a voided $7,825 check found on Scanlon's desk in February 2012. State Police started investigating in August 2012 and Scanlon resigned around the same time.
State police said Scanlon stole at least $1 million over 10 years before being arrested in January 2013. She voided checks then wrote fraudulent new ones, which she deposited in her personal bank account.
State's Attorney Kevin Lawlor noted that Scanlon could only be prosecuted for money stolen starting in 2008 because of the statute of limitations. He estimated that she took about $100,000 a year.
"I find it really sad that three different auditing firms missed this," Gioiello said. "It all has to do with reconciling the checkbook."
"It shows what poor financial controls were in place," he added.
He did not pin blame on the auditors alone. "There's a lot a blame to go around," he said.
Gioiello and Jones, who's running for the Board of Aldermen, said they want to see proof of the insurance policy. Gioiello also wants to know "what is in place to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Scanlon faces three to seven years in prison when she is sentenced on Jan. 16, 2014, in Milford Superior Court.
Gioiello said she receive a sentence comparable to that of other local officials, such as Oxford's former tax collector, who is serving four years for stealing as much as $672,000.