Deal reached in embezzlement case

AMHERST – An Amherst business has settled out of court with the family of a woman who committed suicide after being accused of embezzling $111,000.

Last April, Karen “Kay” Burris, 51, killed herself after her former employer, R&R Auction Co., of Amherst, reported the embezzlement allegation to police.

The Burris family’s lawyer, David Ruoff, of Manchester, said last week that police have cleared Karen Burris’s husband, William, of any wrongdoing and that the civil case against William Burris and the estate of Karen Burris had been settled out of court in September.

“It’s been a rough summer for the Burris family and they are happy to move on,” said Ruoff.

Police Chief Peter Lyon confirmed William Burris has been cleared and that police involvement with the case is over.

R&R Auction Co. specializes in authentication and online sales of autographed memorabilia, from political and historic heavyweights to pop stars. The company employs some 20 people at its offices on Route 101A in Amherst.

The company filed suit March 5 against Karen Burris, her husband and his business, Gases and Technology Magazine. A judge granted the company a $200,000 attachment against the couple’s assets, based on the company’s allegations of theft.

R&R Auctions hired Karen Burris, formerly of 226 Boston Post Road, as office manager in March 2001, the suit stated. Burris was in charge of all the company’s finances, including payroll, accounting and the company credit and checking accounts, the suit states.

The company claims to have found at least 43 unauthorized checks totaling $111,000, 12 of which were made out to Burris, her husband or his company. The checks were payable for amounts ranging from $100 to $11,000, and were issued from 2004-07, the suit stated.

Karen Burris died April 2.