Thursday, August 07, 2008

State Auditor fails to detect another embezzler.

ARLINGTON -- A recently retired Arlington city employee is under investigation for allegedly stealing nearly $800,000 from the city during the past six years.

Snohomish County sheriff's detectives are investigating the Arlington woman for possible first-degree identity theft, first-degree theft and forgery, Arlington city spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said.

"Everyone is just reeling from this," Banfield said. "It's a violation of the trust that the public puts in us. It's also a violation of the trust that we as employees put in each other."

The woman, 56, worked for Arlington for 30 years. She is a relative of at least one high-ranking city employee. Only the former employee is under investigation, Banfield said. All other city employees were cleared by police of any wrongdoing.

The woman allegedly spent part of her time on the job altering as many as 103 checks, depositing them into her own bank account, according to a search warrant filed Wednesday in Snohomish County Superior Court. Detectives also found evidence of a hidden marijuana-growing operation at her home.

Between February 2002 and June 2008, the woman is suspected of taking $775,753.98 from the city's general fund, the documents said.

Investigators believe the woman forged signatures and created false supporting documents that made it appear the checks were for employee retirement and other benefit accounts.

After the bank returned the checks, the woman at times used a typewriter to change whom the check was written to, detectives allege.

"It is clear this was a complex ongoing crime to defraud the city of Arlington," Snohomish County sheriff's detective Thomas Koziol wrote in the affidavit.

The woman is not under arrest and no charges have been filed. She could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

On Monday, detectives served search warrants at the woman's bank and her home.

In addition to bank and investment records, computers and other evidence, police also allegedly seized marijuana plants, scales and a ledger listing apparent drug sales, according to documents.

The Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force has assisted in the investigation because its detectives have expertise in sophisticated financial investigations, sheriff's Lt. Mark Richardson said.

While working for Arlington, the woman split her time between human resource work and finance functions, Banfield said. She retired at the end of May. On July 11, a city accountant found a suspicious check for $10,065.15 made out to the woman and notified supervisors.

At first, the employee believed the check was payout for unused sick time and vacation, but quickly learned no such payout had been made.

An investigation began and the city called state auditors, Banfield said.

Read the entire article at the Herald by clicking

Jackson Holtz
Herald Writer


Anonymous said...

The article also states, "An investigation began and the city called state auditors, Banfield said." So then what did the state auditor do? (probably nothing, I assume)

Anonymous said...

I read this article in today's Herald newspaper. What can be done? Something is wrong with this picture. Again, I would like to know who Mark and others, would vote for in the upcoming election for Auditor.

Anonymous said...

"The whole town is reeling from this.?"
Where are all these fuching reeling people at when this ship is sinking?
Where are all the whiney people at when Beverley El. is installing individual classroom heat units that are reported to heat more than 8 times what they are being used for?!!!!!!! Each unit has the potential to heat two pods entirely. Eight fuching classrooms! The contractors are all heading to Brooks and Dunn show at Whiteriver this weekend with the extra money. Reportedly a million and a half spent on this ship. My fuching headlights on my car don't work properly. I should then go buy a new fuching stereo from Dan Bretler at Car Toys. You people are making me sick. I work too fuching hard for this to be going on!

Anonymous said...

Thursday night on the 11o'clock news was the story of a 27 year veteran of the King County Fire Dept in Federal Way who embezelled $800,000. (He was caught by the FBI). I have no idea if the state auditor's office was involved--although if the Auditor watches the TV news, then he now probably knows about this story.

Anonymous said...

Look at your voters' pamphlet. Not very encouraging, is it?

You have the incumbent and his track record. You have one guy who seems to rant a bit and talk in circles and assume that you know what he's talking about. And the other guy who seems to have a sense of fairness and an idea of non-partisanship but limited experience.

One known and two pigs in a poke. What's a voter to do?