EVERETT — More than two years after she was charged, a Mount Vernon woman suspected of stealing nearly $2 million from an Everett roofing business has pleaded guilty to multiple white-collar crimes.
Michele Huntley, 47, admitted to eight counts of theft and identity theft during a brief appearance in Snohomish County Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon.
She could face more than four years in prison.
Huntley was hired in 2004 as a bookkeeper at Masterwork Roofing in Everett. Between 2008 and 2014, she’s accused of stealing $1.98 million from the roofing company, according to court papers.
The business was founded in 1980 and at one time employed more than 30 roofers. The owner questioned Huntley in 2014 after payments for two large jobs didn’t show up on any receipts or receivable accounts.
“Her answers were evasive and he suspected she was lying so he pressed,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Teresa Cox wrote in court papers.
The investigation included the Everett Police Department, the U.S. Secret Service, a company accountant and a fraud investigator for a bank.
As part of her guilty plea, Huntley acknowledged to the judge Tuesday that she abused her position of trust. Her former boss was in the courtroom to hear it.
Everett police pieced together Huntley’s trail. She kept a bank account open that the owner thought was closed. She diverted checks from businesses and customers to that account. She would then make regular withdrawals from the account for her personal use without the owner’s knowledge.
The investigation also revealed a pattern of intermittent deposits back to the business bank account when its balance ran low, Cox wrote. Huntley deposited about $143,000 over the years.
When confronted by her boss, Huntley told him she had a gambling problem. He fired her and called police. Court papers don’t describe how else she might have used the stolen money.
Sentencing is set for Jan. 22.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.