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Oak Harbor bookkeeper allegedly stole $75,000

A 40-year-old Oak Harbor bookkeeper is accused of stealing more than $60,000 from the American Legion and another $15,000 from a small business over the last couple of years, court documents indicate.

Prosecutors charged Kimberly Sue Brown in Island County Superior Court June 22 with two counts of first-degree theft and three counts of obtaining a signature by deception or duress.

Brown appeared in court July 6, but the hearing was continued to give her time to retain a lawyer. If convicted of the charges, she could face more than a year in prison under the standard sentencing range.

Detective Ron Hofkamp with the Oak Harbor Police started investigating the case in January after a member of the American Legion post in Oak Harbor reported that Brown may have stolen money while she worked as the bookkeeper, the report states.

Hofkamp wrote that the post commander and finance director discovered in November of 2009 that the club had accumulated numerous overdraft fees from the bank and that many bills had not been paid. They fired Brown and hired another bookkeeper to audit the books for them.

The new bookkeeper immediately discovered large amounts of cash were missing from bank deposits. The discrepancies between receipts from the cash register and the amounts that Brown entered into the accounting system totaled more than $33,000 for 2008. The discrepancies totaled in excess of $27,000 for 2009.

While Hofkamp was investigating the American Legion case, a co-owner of Rue and Primavera Physical Therapy also reported an alleged embezzlement case involving Brown.

The report states that Brown would have the owner sign blank checks, saying it was for bills, and then secretly write the checks out to herself. She gave herself raises as the bookkeeper.

In addition, Brown is accused of taking cash meant for rental payments, court documents indicate.

In all, a little over $15,000 was stolen from the business in 2009 and the first two months of 2010, the report states.

In an interview with police, Brown denied stealing money, but admitted to writing herself checks, which she said was a loan she planned to pay back, Hofkamp wrote.

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