Judge Acquits Former City Worker Accused of Stealing as Much as $33,000

Assistant District Attorney Michael Dulany, left, and Dawn Marie Medford at her arraignment in 2017. (WHAV News photograph.)

A former city worker, accused of stealing as much as $33,000, from Haverhill’s treasury, was acquitted of all charges in Haverhill District Court after a trial this week.

In a story broken by WHAV during January 2017, Dawn Marie Medford had been charged with two counts of larceny over $250 and one count of larceny under $250. According to Assistant District Attorney Michael Dulany, city officials reported the thefts from the Treasurer and Collector’s office Oct. 11, 2016.

“She was found not guilty on all counts,” according to Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett. Sources told WHAV a lack of witnesses or other physical evidence hampered the state’s case against Medford. The city has since installed security cameras in the office.

How WHAV Uncovered the Story in 2017

Shortly after WHAV uncovered the story from an obscure docket listing at Haverhill District Court, Mayor James J. Fiorentini got out in front of the matter, saying he was “outraged” by the theft. He said he placed Medford on leave immediately while an investigation was launched and later fired her. Medford was not arrested, but instead summonsed into court.

WHAV’s earlier public records request about the matter was denied by Haverhill Police. “Here, as the records sought involve a matter currently under investigation by law enforcement personnel, and the Police Department believes that public disclosure of same at this time will likely compromise the integrity of the investigation, and/or a subsequent criminal prosecution (if any),” wrote Capt. Michael J. Wrenn.

Medford, who was a “floater” and at times worked in the city Treasurer and Collector’s office, was initially accused of taking $4,000, but the number was later raised to $33,000 when city Finance Director Charles Benevento said a subsequent investigation, including a study by an outside auditing firm, showed the total amounts taken were just over $5,500 in cash, and about $27,600 in checks.

“She was the employee responsible for compiling and depositing checks and cash at the City of Haverhill,” said Kimball-Monahan said after Medford’s arraignment. “On three occasions during her watch there was either checks, cash or checks and cash missing,” she added.

According to Benevento, five batches of deposits went missing between June and November 2016. Three contained tax payments made directly to the Treasurer and Tax Collector’s office. The others were so-called department turnovers, and contained payments for such items as permit fees.

The city eventually was alerted to the alleged thefts by a resident who called asking why her check had yet to clear, Fiorentini said. The additional missing deposits were discovered as the Treasurer’s office researched the resident’s inquiry.