Pudding Members Enter Not Guilty Plea
Funds allegedly bought spa visits, electronics, clothing and trips
Standing side-by-side before the court, both plead “not guilty” to charges of stealing close to $100,000 from the Hasty Pudding Theatricals during a period of more than a year.
According to a source close to the investigations, prosecutors allege Gomes and Pomey used the Pudding’s credit card machine to credit their own cards with money beginning in March 2000. The scheme continued until at least June 2001, by which time the two were allegedly stealing thousands of dollars a week.
During the time in question, Pomey served as the Pudding’s producer—one of the Theatricals’ highest positions and the one with greatest control over finances. Gomes served as assistant director of the group’s popular Man and Woman of the Year ceremonies.
When new producers took over last fall, Producer Lena Demashkieh ’03 discovered financial discrepancies in the Theatricals’ accounts.
Demashkieh has repeatedly declined to comment on the investigation.
After an initial internal investigation began to raise serious questions about Pomey and Gomes’ conduct, executives turned over the evidence to the Harvard University Police Department (HUPD).
HUPD officers continued the investigation, eventually serving search warrants on both Pomey and Gomes. According to friends of Gomes, police confiscated items from both students’ rooms that they charge had been purchased with the stolen money, including a DVD player and a number of other electronics from Gomes’ room.
HUPD officers declined to comment on the warrants.
Sources close to the investigation allege that Gomes and Pomey used the money for spa visits, trips, clothing and electronics.
Yesterday’s arraignment marked only the “first step” in the criminal proceedings against Pomey and Gomes, said Seth I. Horowitz, spokesperson for the district attorney’s office.
At the court session, Pomey sat front row-center with her lawyer, while Gomes sat in the back row with his parents, who had driven to their son’s arraignment from Gomes’ hometown of Plymouth, Mass.
Several Theatricals executives also attended the arraignments, including the group’s president, Greg C. Padgett ’02. Though they sat between the two defendants, Theatricals members did not speak with either Pomey or Gomes. Co-Producers Demashkieh and Joshua N. Bress ’02 were also present, as were Vice President Cara L. New ’01-’02, and Gomes’ former supervisor Man and Woman of the Year Chair Libby Shani ’02.
At the arraignment, the district attorney’s office asked that Pomey and Gomes be released without imposing bail. The students were never taken into custody on the charges, and the district attorney said personal recognizance—a defendant’s promise to return to court—would be enough to ensure both students would appear at their next court date.
A judge agreed and ordered Pomey and Gomes to return for a pre-trial conference on March 28, at which each defendant must either plead guilty and receive a sentence or renew their not guilty plea and go on to trial.
Neither the district attorney’s office nor Gomes’ lawyer would comment on how the case would proceed or on possible plea bargains that might be put on the table between now and the March conference.
“Anything is possible at this point,” said Henry R. Cashman, Gomes’ Boston-based lawyer.
Cashman declined further comment, saying he was still reviewing the case.
Pomey’s lawyer could not be reached for comment.
Neither defendant could be reached for comment last night.
The two Winthrop House residents, who neighbors say have been keeping a low profile since the indictments become public last week, both previously had answering machines, but no answering machine picked up when their phone numbers were called multiple times last night.
—Staff writer Stephanie M. Skier can be reached at email@example.com.