Saturday, May 25, 2013

Embezzlement charges refiled against ex-Highland school clerk in Washington

Charges have been refiled against a former Highland School District clerk accused of embezzling funds from the district.

Staci Ann Fordahl, 41, of Yakima was arraigned Wednesday in Yakima County Superior Court on felony charges of first-degree theft and forgery. She appeared by summons and was released on her own recognizance.

Fordahl had worked as a purchasing agent for the Cowiche-based school district from 2007 to 2010, where her duties included handling funds and making deposits up to twice a week.

According to court records, Fordahl was fired in the summer of 2010 after she was accused of stealing up to $25,000 by removing cash from deposit bags and sometimes using checks to make up for cash shortages in other deposits.

The case was later dismissed without prejudice — meaning it could be refiled — after prosecutors said a more precise forensic accounting investigation by state auditors was ongoing.
In March, the State Auditor’s Office released a report that concluded nearly $9,700 in cash deposits was misappropriated from the school district.

The report said the missing cash was either not deposited or the deposits did not reconcile with receipts over a period of time from December 2008 to May 2010.

A total of $1,807 in checks also was not deposited, but the report said damaged bank records prevented a conclusion the checks had been misappropriated.

The report included a response from the school district, saying it agreed with the findings and that internal accounting controls have since been strengthened.

In addition to her job with the school district, Fordahl served as a member of the Tieton City Council for one term from 2005 to 2009

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