The Rhode Island State Police arrested Rachel Arruda on embezzlement charges yesterday, a retired Municipal Court clerk accused stealing approximately $389,000 between 2004 and 2010. Arruda retired from the City employment in August of 2010 and was the chairwoman of this year's Autmnfest parade.
A press release from the mayor's office said that the State Police investigation was initiated at the request of the City of Woonsocket and its auditors.
This is the second individual charged as a result of the management and financial controls put in place by the current administration. Earlier this year, , a clerk in the City Treasury department was arrested by Woonsocket Police for Unlawful Appropriation (over $1,000) and Computer Access for Fraudulent Purposes. It is alleged that she stole over $7,000 through fraudulent transactions going back to at least early 2009.
“The State Police have handled this matter with the utmost of professionalism and we are grateful for their efforts,” said Mayor Leo Fontaine, also giving credit to finance department staff for their efforts.
“We cannot and will not stand for corruption in any form, period," said Fontaine. "I came into office promising open and honest government, and that is what we will continue to do. During these very difficult times, the people of our city deserve no less.”
Both Fontaine and Bruce gave credit to City Auditors, Braver PC for their assistance in this matter.
“Braver has been invaluable in our combined efforts to refine our financial and management operations,” Bruce said. Although the finance director said yesterday that the embezzlement had gone undetected by auditors for years, he also noted that the city was working with different auditors during many of the years of Arruda's employment.