Collier County woman arrested for stealing thousands from employer

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
Donna Marie Rothermel (Credit: CCSO booking photo)

A Collier County woman was arrested after investigators said she stole more than $50,000 from her employer.

Donna Marie Rothermel, 47, is facing charges of grand theft ($20,000 to $100,000) and obtaining property by fraud (more than $50,000).

A sheriff’s office affidavit says Rothermel worked as the office manager for Suncoast Dental Center since 2004. The crimes are believed to have occurred in 2016 and 2017.

“What you’ll find in a lot of these investigations is the people that are doing it are not typical criminals,” explained Rich Kolko, WINK News Safety & Security specialist. “When confronted, they pretty quickly fold.”

The affidavit states the business was made aware of the issue when a Costco representative contacted them regarding merchandise being delivered to Rothermel’s home rather than the practice, which was the billing address of the credit card used for the purchases.

Kolko said it is only a matter of time when people accused of crimes like Rothermel get caught.

“The footprint you leave these days is the digital footprint,” Kolko said. “It’s pretty hard to avoid leaving the evidence for someone to find you. It might just take a little while.”

The owner began looking into the finances and found several questionable transactions. When he questioned Rothermel, she said there were no unauthorized charges but she may have made some “honest mistakes” and would pay him back.

By the end of the CCSO investigation, it was found that Rothermel had used the practice’s money to buy personal items and to overpay herself and another employee via payroll. She is also accused of not depositing more than $41,000 in payments made by patients and of using the business’ money to pay off 401(k) loans.

The affidavit states Rothermel made more than $40,000 in unauthorized credit card purchases, including nearly $8,000 spent at Amazon on items ranging from pet products to vitamins. Some of those items were mailed to the practice and others to Rothermel’s home.

The improper payroll checks came out to a total of nearly $18,000, investigators found, and there were several checks written to Rothermel totaling nearly $11,000.

Rothermel was arrested Tuesday and has since been released on a $40,000 bond. Her arraignment is set for Sept. 8.

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