Wilton woman one of two accused of stealing from schools

A Wilton woman is one of two former New Canaan Public Schools employees arrested and charged with larceny and defrauding a public community after a police investigation showed more than $470,000 in cash was allegedly stolen from Saxe Middle School cafeteria and New Canaan High School cafeteria during a five-year period of 2012 to 2017, according to New Canaan Police.

The former employees are Marie Wilson, 67, of Wilton, and her sister Joanne Pascarelli, 61, of Stratford, Conn.

In an Aug. 13 press release New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski announced that following a lengthy and detailed investigation arrest warrants were reviewed by a state’s attorney and a Superior Court judge, who found probable cause and signed both arrest warrants.

Wilson surrendered herself to New Canaan Police on Aug. 11 and was released on $50,000 bond with a court date of Aug. 21. Pascarelli surrendered to police and was released on $50,000 bond with a court date of Aug. 24.

According to Krolikowski’s press release, the theft of funds may have started before 2012, but the investigation did not focus on the years before 2012 “due to direction by the state’s attorney’s office because of statutes of limitation.”

For the five-year period of 2012-2017, approximately $478,588 in cash was misappropriated, according to the chief’s announcement. The New Canaan Board of Education filed a complaint with the New Canaan Police Investigative Section on Dec. 21, 2017. In a summary of the investigation Krolikowski said financial discrepancies were discovered with the handling of cash at Saxe Middle School cafeteria and New Canaan High School cafeteria.

“Investigators monitored both cafeteria operations and interviewed multiple cafeteria workers over the course of several months,” he said. Pascarelli was formerly employed at Saxe Middle School and Wilson formerly worked at New Canaan High School.

An attorney for Wilson, Mark Sherman, submitted a statement regarding Wilson’s arrest. He said the accusations are false and misleading and that Wilson will be pleading not guilty at her arraignment.

“There is much more to this story,” Sherman said. “Marie is innocent and did not personally divert a single nickel of town money for personal gain. She is not going to be scapegoated for this missing money.”