By Kassie Parisi
BALLSTON SPA — A Mechanicville woman was sentenced to up to six years in state prison for stealing $500,000 from her employer.
Jean M. Hatalsky, 48, of Meehan Road, was sentenced Thursday in Saratoga County Court by Judge James A. Murphy III after pleading guilty in July to felony charges of second-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records.
The sentencing came after an extensive investigation and audit of Hatalsky’s former employer, Creatacor Exhibits and Displays of Halfmoon, according the the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office.
Hatalsky had worked for the company, which makes trade show displays, since she was 18. She committed the thefts between January 2011 and September 2015, using her employer’s credit card to purchase Christmas presents, a snowmobile, a lawn tractor and a welder, along with numerous trips and dinners. Initially, the company reported financial irregularities to state police in Clifton Park, which worked with an auditor to uncover and trace the thefts to Hatalsky.
While she started her career at the company answering phones, Hatalsky eventually became the office manager, which was when she began to falsify records that she was responsible for keeping.
In a victim impact statement delivered Thursday, Tom Lemery, the founder and former CEO of Creatacor, said that, as Hatalsky rose within the company, her responsibilities grew. Her crime, he said, affected the entire, tight-knit company, which suffered from financial challenges as a result of the theft.
“While the crime was bad enough,” he said, “the betrayal of trust was so much more painful.”
In condemning Hatalsky, he added that his feelings went from shock to resentment upon learning of the extensive thefts via the auditing process.
“What could we have done with that money?” he asked. “What these investments in our business could have yielded, we will never know.”
Hatalsky apologized to her former employer at her sentencing. Thus far, she has paid back $430,000 to the company, which Murphy said was a factor as he considered her sentence, which could have carried a maximum 15 years in prison.
The remaining $70,000, Murphy ordered, is to be paid back over a period of 10 years.