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Former Saugus Library Employee Arrested for Embezzeling $800K

SAUGUS – A former library employee in the Town of Saugus was arrested by FBI agents yesterday after begin indicted on 4 counts of mail fraud, 10 counts of money laundering, and 1 count of aggravated identity theft.  The indictment alleges that Linda E. Duffy, 65, drained more than $800,000 from a decoy bank account at Eastern Bank in the name of the Saugus Public Library beginning in 2004 until her recent resignation in July.

Duffy was charged yesterday in federal court, but was released after posting $100,000 bail late in the afternoon. She, her family, and her lawyer have declined to comment on the case itself, but personally defended Duffy as she exited the courthouse yesterday.

“She’s been an excellent wife, excellent mother. She’s also a caretaker for her 101-year-old mother-in-law who’s dying,” said Defense Attorney Fred Riley.

The indictment alleges that Duffy diverted charitable donations, as well as checks intended to pay library fees and fines, to a decoy account after which she slowly transferred the funds to her own personal account at Eastern Bank. The money was eventually used for personal expenses, including jewelry, home repairs, automotive payments, and her home mortgage. Duffy’s personal home located on Central St. may eventually be taken if convicted.

As part of her scheme to take funds from the library, Duffy also deceived the GE Foundation, the charitable foundation of General Electric Company, into donating over $400,000 to the library to match “non-existent donations by former GE employees and their families”.

These funds were also deposited into the decoy account and later transferred to Duffy’s personal accounts. The indictment also alleges funds were deposited into an account in her daughter’s name as well, however, she has not been indicted at this time.

In total, Duffy stole approximately over $800,000 in library donations, fines, and fees, including the funds obtained from defrauding the GE Foundation between 2004 and 2011.

Duffy could face up to 20 years in prison on the mail fraud and money laundering charges, and an addition two-year sentence if convicted of the identity theft charge as well. If convicted of embezzling, Duffy would be subject to a fine in excess of $1.5 million, up to twice the total value of the funds involved in money laundering transactions.

“It’s a sad day in Saugus,” said Andrew Bisignani, Saugus town manager. “The wheels are in motion, and we’ll just have to go from here.”

However, this isn’t the first time Duffy has had trouble with the law or embezzling.

In 1993, Duffy was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution after being convicted on 13 counts of mail fraud, conspiracy and perjury. Duffy was a supervisor with an insurance company, and used her position to enter fake claims in 1987 and 1988 that resulted in $120,000 in checks being paid to her former boyfriend Francis W. Sanchez.

The US Attorney has also said they would seek restitution for the Saugus Public Library, the GE Foundation, and any other victims of the offenses in the indictment. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.

* Both the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and NoBo Magazine reiterate that the details contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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