Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sticky-Fingered HOA Treasurer Gets 15 Days House Arrest For Embezzling $26K From Outside Employer, Then Using Partial Proceeds To Dodge Jail Time In Earlier $10K HOA Ripoff

In Bonney Lake, Washington, the Bonney Lake-Sumner Herald reports:
  • Bonney Lake woman Jeanette Kay Sturtz, 57, was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days community service and 15 days house arrest after pleading guilty to embezzling more than $35,000 from her homeowners association and a Puyallup landscaping company.

    Sturtz was charged March 5 for the theft of nearly $26,000 from Blue Sky Landscape Service, where she worked as a financial controller. [...] In the declaration of probable cause for the case, deputy prosecutor Lisa Wagner noted that the thefts from Blue Sky began the same month thefts from Sturtz's homeowner's association ended.

    Sturtz was charged in 2011 with the theft of $10,600 from the homeowner's association where she was treasurer. The charges were dismissed under an El Cid diversion program when it was determined she had paid back what she had taken. The Blue Sky case led prosecutors to believe she had embezzled from her employer in part to pay back the association.

    "In (the homeowner's association) incident the defendant had admitted to stealing $10,600.00 from her homeowner's association, and she said that the thefts occurred from February to September 2010," Wagner wrote in the probable cause papers. "That latter date is important because the records in the present case show that the defendant began stealing from Blue Sky Landscaping in September, 2010."

    In light of the new embezzlement case, the theft charge in the association case was reopened. Sturtz originally pleaded not guilty March 20. With her plea of guilty to two counts of theft in the first degree, prosecutors agreed to recommend she be sentenced as a first-time offender. Twelve charges of forgery were dismissed from the case.