Everett woman accused of embezzling $70,000

SNOHOMISH — The former bookkeeper for the American Legion Post 96 in Snohomish is accused of embezzling more than $70,000.

A forensic audit showed that the military veterans organization was missing thousands of dollars in its accounts. Prosecutors allege that Susan Edwards, 51, of Everett, is responsible for stealing the money.

Edwards was the post’s bookkeeper between October 2009 and September 2011, court papers said.

The missing money came to the attention of the command staff at the post in August 2011. They were advised that bills weren’t being paid on time and there were shortages in the general accounts, Snohomish County sheriff’s detective David Fontenot wrote in court papers.

An audit showed that checks were being written and cashed for larger amounts than what was recorded in the ledger. In one instance, Edwards reportedly cashed a $3,000 check but wrote in the books that the check was for $600, court papers said. There also was a large spike in money being taken from the “cash box.” That was the source used to pay people who won at pull tabs, a gambling game offered at the post. There was no record of actual payouts to account for the money taken from the cash box.

After her resignation, the payouts returned to the consistent range they were before Edwards was hired, court papers said.

The post’s command staff reportedly met with Edwards in September 2011, confronting her about the missing money.

She resigned and left the building without returning.

“Edwards never offered any explanation for the issues other than, ‘I don’t have a response for that,’” the detective wrote.

The post’s attorney asked Snohomish police to consider a criminal investigation. The police department requested that the organization conduct a forensic audit. The leaders hired a certified public accountant, with experience in audits used in criminal prosecutions.

The audit was finished in September 2012. It reportedly confirmed that Edwards embezzled $74,000 in the two years she was employed as the bookkeeper, court papers said.

Police contacted Edwards, who declined to speak with detectives unless she had an attorney. She is scheduled to be in Superior Court later this month to answer to the charge.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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