An Irish woman is on the run after embezzling over $225,000 from her workplace, according to police in Troutdale, Oregon.
Mary Elizabeth Carter, originally from Dublin, was the practice manager at Paws and Claws Veterinarian Clinic in Troutdale. Hired in the fall of 2004, the 46-year-old became responsible for monitoring and managing the company accounts.
After a book-keeper left the practice in early fall 2005, Carter gained full control of the company accounts.
Following an investigation, police discovered Carter used company funds to buy gas, pay credit card bills and shop at Macy’s, Costco and other stores, as well as fueling her cocaine habit.
Speaking to the Irish Voice, Clary DeRemer, who runs Paws and Claws with her husband Dr. Ken DeRemer, said that Carter was an impressive employee at the start. She said that after she was hired, the Irish woman put great effort into improving the business.
“Initially she did a really good job,” DeRemer said “She turned the business around with marketing, her connections with different drug reps, she had the contacts. She took some kind of veterinary management course in Chicago in her previous job and she seemed to know all the ropes.”
Working alongside other employees in the business, DeRemer said that Carter had a strong personality and people were often captivated by her Irish accent.
“She had friends or enemies, they either liked her or didn’t. She would use whatever means she had to get ahead,” she noted.
With the Paws and Claws practice turning over profits under the management of Carter, she persuaded her employers to open a second practice in May 2008.
The week their second practice, Peninsula Dog and Cat Clinic in North Portland opened, Carter assured the DeRemers over dinner that it was a great investment.
“With this clinic, you guys are going to be rolling in it,” she said.
Around the same time, Carter treated herself to a new car.
Returning home from vacation in June 2009, the DeRemers were surprised to find a letter from the IRS informing them they owed back taxes for both of their veterinary practices.
When Ken DeRemer confronted Carter, she assured him that it was a mistake and that she would fix the situation. She even hired a tax attorney and told her employer she would handle it.
When the full details of her embezzlement began to emerge, Ken DeRemer went straight to the local police department. After a thorough investigation into Carter’s misuse of the company’s funds, Troutdale police moved in to arrest the Dubliner.
Detective Greg Vining, the lead investigator on the case told the Irish Voice that when they detained Carter, she showed no regret for her actions.
“She showed no remorse, she was honest but she had no regrets.”
When Carter was picked up by police on January 28, 2010, she never enquired why she was being arrested. When Vining asked the Dublin woman if she knew why she had been detained she replied, “Ya, because of Paws and Claws.” She was charged with first degree aggravated theft.
Police reports seen by the Irish Voice show that Carter spent hundreds of thousands of dollars shopping and supporting a cocaine habit. She told police she had used her paychecks to buy cocaine, and the company checks were used to purchase necessities for herself and her boyfriend Manuel Lopez.
“I got so deep into it that it wouldn’t matter, I knew I was going to get caught anyway,” she told detectives.
After Carter was arrested, she was released the following day on bail. Police seized her passport while they waited for her case to be processed through what Vining described as an “overwhelmed” court system.
When a grand jury indicted Carter last October, Troutdale police went to her North Portland home where she lived with her boyfriend, with a warrant for her arrest.
However, when police questioned her boyfriend they soon discovered she had fled. He told police he had no idea where she was.
“She said she had some trouble and needed to walk away,” he told police.
With Carter on the run, the DeRemers are left with a colossal back tax bill as well as other associated bills hiked up by their former employee.
Troutdale Police are now seeking the public’s assistance in locating Carter. She is described as 5’7” inches tall and 160 pounds and has a slight Irish accent. She has a Celtic tattoo on her right forearm. They have issued a nationwide warrant for her arrest.