Red Cross worker convicted of stealing $400,000 loses appeal

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut court on Friday rejected the appeal of a former American Red Cross official who was convicted of stealing more than $400,000 from the organization.

A three-judge panel of the state Appellate Court ruled against Diane Williams, former finance director of the Red Cross's Middletown chapter. The East Hartford resident argued various rulings by a lower court judge were improper, including a denial of her request to have several out-of-state witnesses testify at her trial.

Prosecutors said Williams stole nearly $410,000 from the Red Cross from 2006 to 2010 by inflating her paychecks to include holiday, vacation and sick time she was not entitled to. Her annual salary range was $47,000 to $57,000, but she paid herself multiple times those amounts including nearly $189,000 in 2009, prosecutors said.

A jury convicted Williams of first-degree larceny, and she was sentenced to eight years in prison. She is set to be released in 2026.

Williams' attorney, Raymond Durelli, said Friday that he could not comment on the Appellate Court ruling because he had not yet reviewed it.