North Whidbey bookkeeper accused of stealing, gambling funds

A former bookkeeper accused of stealing more than $200,000 from two North Whidbey community organizations was charged with two felonies.

Wendy Murphy, 50, of Oak Harbor, allegedly stole from Rolling Hills-Glencairn Community Service and Hillcrest Village Water Co. during a three-year period. She was sued by the two entities after the theft was discovered early this year.

Prosecutors charged Murphy Nov. 4 in Island County Superior Court with two counts of first-degree theft with aggravating circumstances.

Lt. Mike Hawley with the Island County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

Hawley’s report indicates that Murphy gambled with the money she allegedly stole.

She made more than $50,000 in authorized credit card charges on the Rolling Hill’s Visa card between 2009 and 2012, Hawley wrote.

According to Hawley’s report, officials at the Hillcrest Village Water Community reported the suspected theft in March.

The board members fired Murphy, the longtime bookkeeper, on March 1 after the “probable embezzlement” was discovered, according to the report.

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

The report states that Murphy wrote a series of unauthorized checks from the Hillcrest account to her husband, herself and the Rolling Hills-Glencairn account, apparently to hide some of her theft from Rolling Hills.

Hawley contacted the Rolling Hills officials and learned they had started an investigation into Murphy. The board president sent out a letter to members in March which states that officials believe that individual accounts were not affected.

The Rolling Hills-Glencairn Community Service filed a lawsuit against Murphy earlier this year. Murphy didn’t contest it and the judge ordered a judgment against her for $57,000.

Hillcrest Village Water Co. also filed a lawsuit, claiming that Murphy stole more than $168,000. The litigation is unresolved.


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