Two former employees of a North Jersey dentist, one of whom was a candidate for local office, are scheduled to have a status conference before a Superior Court judge Monday on charges they diverted nearly $300,000 from their employer into their own private accounts.
Arlene Marchese, a Wayne resident, and Karen Wright are due to appear before Judge Greta Gooden-Brown.
Both women were charged in December with one count of theft by failing to make proper disposition of property received and one count of forgery, NorthJersey.com previously reported. Both women face up to 10 years in state prison if convicted of the charges.
Marchese worked for Dominick Lembo, a dentist with a North Haledon practice, for 13 years. They performed clerical and office work, which included overseeing the practice’s finances.
Lembo said Marchese and Wright forged his name on the back of insurance checks for seven years and deposited the money into their personal bank accounts.
Lembo said he has accounted for about $300,000 in loses.
Lembo has resubmitted insurance claims for the last 10 years in an attempt to find out who was paid and who wasn’t.
“Everyone knows what the right thing to do its: give me back my money and take responsibility for what you did,” Lembo said. “I’ve lost good will with a lot of patients. My phone has been ringing off the hook because of this.”
Marchese was a Democratic candidate for the 2nd Ward council seat in 2011. Wayne Democratic Chairman Ray Egatz replaced her for unspecified reasons.
Depending on what happens at the conference, the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office may negotiate a plea agreement with Marchese and Wright, a letter from County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes to Lembo states.
Jay McCann, chief assistant prosecutor with the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, who is handling the case, did not return a message seeking comment.
Marchese is the daughter in law of 1st Ward Council candidate Gary Marchese.