Former Coakley Middle School vice principal Stephen Shinnick pled guilty on Friday, April 1, to abusing his position as treasurer of the Norwood School Employee Federal Credit Union to steal more than a quarter of a million dollars.
Shinnick, 64, of Norwood, was indicted by a Norfolk County Grand Jury last year on three counts of Larceny over $250 by Continuing Scheme. Judge Kenneth Fishman sentenced Shinnick to two and a half years in the House of Correction with six months to serve and the balance suspended for five years, and issued an order of restitution with the probation department to order the payment schedule based on Shinnick’s ability to pay when he is released from incarceration. Shinnick is also ordered to continue treatment for compulsive gambling addiction when he is released.
Shinnick's jail sentence will begin this Friday, April 8.
“This was an egregious breach of trust, and it involved not a momentary lapse of reason but hundreds of criminal actions over several years,” Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said after Shinnick pleaded guilty to all of the charges against him. “We felt strongly that in addition to being ordered to pay restitution, substantial incarceration was warranted in this case.”
Shinnick's charges were based on his using Credit Union funds to pay $164,516.46 in personal bills, to issue checks payable to himself totaling $130,402.74, and to make payments to his children totaling $13,000.
Assistant District Attorney Greg Connor, District Attorney Morrissey’s chief white collar prosecutor, argued that Shinnick should serve 30 months behind bars – the upper end of the sentencing guidelines for a larceny of this scale – followed by a 5-year probation with enforced restitution payments in a memorandum to the judge prior to his sentencing.
“While it is understood that Mr. Shinnick suffers from a gambling addiction," the memorandum reads, "he did not sacrifice his own lifestyle while he stole from his friends. He and his wife went to Sky Restaurant in Norwood every Friday night. He vacationed in Nantucket and took cruises. The money he spent did not all go to the lottery, but went to him. Mr. Shinnick paid his credit card bills, auto lease, mortgage and life insurance policy out of the credit union check book. He paid for his trips to Nantucket and his daughter’s wedding. He gave his family gifts.”
District Attorney Morrissey praised the Norwood Police Department, Detective Robert Rinn who began the investigation, and ADA Connor, who conducted the grand jury investigation that produced these indictments.
“This was an extremely complex and time-consuming grand jury investigation,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “Over the course of more than a year, we employed the services of a retired Department of Revenue fraud investigator to conduct a forensic audit on the credit union’s books and used grand jury subpoenas to track down who benefited from every misdirected dollar.”