Former orchard employee guilty of stealing more than $110K from the business

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POUGHKEEPSIE – A Pleasant Valley woman has been ordered to pay restitution and spend three years on probation following a guilty plea in Beekman Justice Court.

Pleasant Valley resident Concetta Lozito, 54, had been a longtime employee of Barton Orchards in Poughquag until it was discovered that she had been embezzling money from the organization.

According to Dutchess County Chief Assistant District Attorney Matt Weishaupt, orchard owner Peter Barton reviewed security footage from his business in which Lozito was seen pocketing a small sum of cash and notified the state police.

The ensuing police investigation, assisted by the Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, revealed that Lozito had been embezzling cash, in small sums, from Barton Orchards on a long-term basis.  The stolen cash came from admission fees that visitors paid on weekends.

Shortly after being arrested on a felony charge, the DA’s office and Lozito’s attorney came to a solution that would keep the first-time offender out of jail.

Weishaupt said the attorneys concurred that if Lozito agreed to pay full restitution of $118,000, serve three years of probation, and stay away from the Barton business, the charge would be lowered to a misdemeanor.  “The negotiations were successful and all parties were satisfied with the outcome,” Weishaupt said.  “Restitution has been made in full and the victim is satisfied.”

On July 28 in Beekman Justice Court, Lozito presented a certified check to cover the restitution and entered a guilty plea to the misdemeanor petit larceny charge.  She will serve the three-year probation term and has been issued a “full stay-away” order preventing her from returning to Barton Orchards and making contact with Barton.