News

Oak Harbor bookkeeper accused of stealing $200,000

An investigator is looking for any groups that employed a bookkeeper accused of embezzling large amounts of money from two Whidbey Island organizations.

Lt. Mike Hawley with the Island County Sheriff’s Office said he’s investigating Wendy Lyn Murphy, 50, an Oak Harbor resident, for allegedly stealing more than $200,000 from the Hillcrest Village Water Co. and Rolling Hills-Glencairn Community Service.

Murphy allegedly embezzled the money while she was the bookkeeper for these organizations and he’s concerned there could be more victims, Hawley said.

“If she’s been working as a bookkeeper for your organization, you may want to do an audit,” he said.

Anyone with information about the current cases or other possible cases should contact Hawley at 678-4422.

Murphy isn’t charged with a crime as the investigation is ongoing, said Hawley.

Hawley obtained a search warrant last week for bank account information.

According to Hawley’s report for the search warrant, officials at the Hillcrest Village Water Community said the alleged theft occurred in March.

Board members fired Murphy, the longtime bookkeeper, on March 1 after the “probable embezzlement” was discovered, the report states.

A new bookkeeper audited the financial records back to 2009 and reportedly found that $168,000 was missing, according to the report.

The report alleges that Murphy wrote a series of unauthorized checks from the Hillcrest account to her husband, herself and the Rolling Hills-Glencairn account, apparently in an attempt to hide the thefts.

Hawley contacted Rolling Hills officials and learned they had started investigating Murphy.

The board president sent out a letter to members in March stating that officials believed that individual accounts were not affected.

Between 2009 and 2012, Murphy allegedly made more than $50,000 in unauthorized credit card purchases on Rolling Hill’s Visa card, Hawley wrote.

Some of the unauthorized charges were cash advances at casinos.

Murphy did not return a call for comment on the accusations.

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Aug 27 edition online now. Browse the archives.