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Iowa woman accused of embezzlement of over $500,000

In small businesses and small towns, there seems to be a growing trend of employees accused of taking advantage of the trust their employers place in them. In one Iowa town, the government offices are reeling after being alerted to inconsistencies in the accounting records. The former city clerk is now facing embezzlement charges.

The city hired a new clerk after the previous clerk resigned. In the course of her work, the new clerk came across a credit card with high charges on it. The card was not authorized by the city council, so the woman turned it over to officials who launched an audit. The audit revealed that, while the previous clerk was employed with the city, over $500,000 of city money had been improperly used.

Almost $90,000 had been charged on the credit card, and over $60,000 had been diverted to the previous clerk's payroll. In addition, the utility meters at the woman's residence and at her husband's business had apparently been shut off, resulting in $6,700 in unbilled utilities. The woman is accused of pocketing about $257,000 from unauthorized rate hikes on sewer bills over the past five years. She is believed to have spent the money on weight-loss supplements, convenience store purchases and psychic hotline calls.

The investigation continues into the alleged embezzlement, and the woman has been charged with three counts of felony theft. Despite the fact that this was not a violent crime, the woman faces thousands in fines and many years in prison if she is found guilty. An Iowa criminal lawyer can mount a strong defense for her. Working closely with the woman, her attorney can try to have the charges reduced or challenge the evidence to potentially have the charges dropped.

Source: desmoinesregister.com, "Iowa audit: Psychic hotlines part of $500k impropriety", Jason Clayworth, Dec. 21, 2016

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