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Seven family members arrested in Goodwill scam

November 16, 1997

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Police arrested seven relatives accused of skimming hundreds of thousands of dollars from Goodwill charity thrift stores where they worked.

Prosecutors described a sophisticated, tightly controlled family operation run at seven Goodwill Industries stores in Santa Clara County.

Taking advantage of Goodwill’s inability to track donated inventory, workers allegedly sold truckloads of goods out the back door of the Willow Glen-area store for cash, court records show.

They also allegedly stole cash directly by storing money in extra registers opened during busy sales periods. The money taken from the registers was never reported, according to a civil lawsuit filed by Goodwill.

The embezzlement lasted at least eight years, though some former employees indicate it stretched back more than two decades.

``They also systematically used cash to pay people to do the labor required by the scheme and used threats that people would be fired if they didn’t go along,″ Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Steven Lowney said.

Among those arrested Friday was Willow Glen store manager Linda Marcil, 43, who was described as one of the ringleaders. Authorities found more than $400,000 in safes at her home and in her office _ much of which she admitted belonged to Goodwill, police said.

Also charged with felony grand theft and conspiracy were three of her sisters, one brother and one nephew. They were jailed on $1 million bail each.

Police also arrested Mrs. Marcil’s husband, Jeffrey, but he was released for cooperating with investigators. Marcil said he went to authorities in September, a month after the couple filed for divorce.

Another suspected ringleader was Carol Marrs, a former Goodwill director of store operations who committed suicide last month. Investigators found records of 12 bank and investment accounts containing nearly $900,000 among Marrs’ belongings.

Goodwill sells donated clothing, furniture and other items to employ the disabled.

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