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Two Thruway restaurant workers accused of theft through payroll scam

Two women who worked at a restaurant at the Thruway’s Angola Travel Plaza have been accused of stealing money through a payroll sheet scam, according to State Police.

Valerie L. McKeever, 31, of Gowanda, and Luana J. Halftown, 37, of Lawtons, worked together for Derico of East Amherst, which staffs the McDonald’s restaurant at the travel plaza. McKeever was a manager.

Thursday, McKeever was charged with a felony count of grand larceny and 30 counts of falsifying business records, also a felony, while Halftown was charged with grand larceny. The charges stemmed from a report by the director of operations for Derico, who said more than $4,400 was stolen through forged time cards and payroll sheets.

Police said McKeever is accused of forging 15 time cards for Halftown and filing 15 forged payroll sheets. Halftown was getting paid for working 40 hours a week while actually working only 17 hours, police said.

Last month, McKeever was charged with grand larceny and 250 counts of falsifying business records. Another manager at McDonald’s had reported the theft of almost $800 from a bank deposit bag, leading to an investigation that revealed that on approximately 300 dates, McKeever had taken more than $6,000 in revenue and then forged daily ledger reports.

Following Thursday’s arrests, the two were arraigned in Orchard Park Town Court and sent to Erie County Holding Center. Bail was set at $5,000 for McKeever and $2,500 for Halftown.

Both are due back in court Tuesday in the Town of Evans.