Furniture maker’s office manager imprisoned for theft

By David Hammond

Syracuse, NY – The former office manager for a wood furniture manufacturer in DeWitt was sentenced today to serve two to six years in state prison for stealing more than $260,000 from the company over six years.

Kimberlei A. Senke, 44, of Libby Street, Liverpool, had nothing to say before County Judge Joseph Fahey imposed the sentence.

But the judge bluntly pointed out the least Senke could have done was offer an apology, especially after listening to her former employer talk in court about the impact of the theft on him, his family and the company.

Gregory McCartney, owner and president of Artistry in Wood on Manlius Center Road, appeared to be fighting to maintain control as he told Fahey in court today about the financial and emotional impact of Senke’s thievery.

Senke had been a trusted office manager and friend of his family, McCartney said. Senke was arrested a year ago and accused of stealing more than $260,000 from the company from 2005 through March 2011.

She pleaded guilty Dec. 29 to second-degree grand larceny, fifth-degree criminal tax fraud and workman’s compensation fraud.

Defense lawyer James McGraw noted Senke had paid back $53,000 in restitution to date. But that was not going to keep her from state prison. Assistant District Attorney Matthew Dotzler said that even if Senke had come up with full restitution, she was to be sentenced to serve one to three years in prison. With restitution still unresolved, the deal called for the two- to six-year sentence Fahey imposed, the prosecutor said.

According to Dotzler, Senke did not appear to have a gambling or substance abuse problem to account for the thievery. She was just living above her means and stealing to support that lifestyle, the prosecutor said. McCartney said he had given up pay for a year and a half, used savings and retirement money and laid off employees in order to keep the business alive in the wake of Senke’s thefts. He and his family and his other employees had been exposed to “needless anxiety” and experienced “a deep sense of betrayal” as a result of Senke’s criminal conduct, McCartney told Fahey.

After faulting Senke for failing to apologize, Fahey said the defendant “richly deserved” the state prison penalty he was imposing. Fahey ordered Senke to pay another $211,000 in restitution, plus $11,629 to the New York State Department of Taxation and $26,091 to the New York State Insurance Fund.

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About the Author
David is a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer with over a decade of experience fighting for service members and their families. He served nine years and two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer, then joined the Reserves and settled down in Syracuse to be near family. Now representing people across Central New York charged with serious felonies, misdemeanors, DWIs, and traffic offenses, he puts the same level of commitment into his civilian law practice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact David here.