Former United Medical Center Employee Pleads Guilty to Stealing $335,000 in Overtime Pay

Marlene L. Merchant, 54, agreed to pay $335,663 in restitution as part of plea agreement

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    A former United Medical Center pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing more than $335,000 from her former employer via unwarranted overtime pay.

    Marlene L. Merchant, 54, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds.

    She also agreed to pay $335,663 in restitution as part of her plea agreement.

    Merchant worked as an administrative assistant at United Medical Center and its predecessor, Greater Southeast Community Hospital, for more than 10 years, where she was not eligible to receive overtime pay.

    But in court Tuesday, she admitted to manipulating the hospital's electronic timekeeping system, with the aid of a payroll manager, to change her employee status beginning in 2005.

    In 2008, she also began using her manager's account information to log into the system to change her status herself. She also increased her number of recorded hours worked, authorities said.

    Merchant faces between 18 and 24 months in prison. She will be sentenced Sept. 8.