Marysville woman skips trial in $232,000 Zumiez theft case

LYNNWOOD — Detectives suspect a former payroll employee of a Lynnwood-based clothing store pilfered twice as much money as they originally thought.

The updated tally is near $232,000.

Danielle Koehn, 39, was scheduled to begin trial Tuesday on 17 counts of identity theft. She missed the hearing and a judge issued a $50,000 warrant.

Koehn, who was arrested in 2015, reportedly used access to employee information to steal money over the span of about three years. More than 200 people were targeted.

She was hired by Zumiez Inc. in January 2011 as a payroll coordinator. The clothing retailer, with hundreds of locations around the U.S. and Canada, caters to snow- and skateboarders.

An internal audit showed the fraudulent activity dated back to the year she joined the company.

Koehn reportedly created a computer file that compiled staffers’ birthdays, Social Security numbers and addresses. That information was used to activate 59 pay cards.

Detectives believe she duplicated employees’ final payouts and diverted payments to those cards. In other instances, she changed the payment method on personnel accounts and added billable hours, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Much of the activity on those cards traced back to Marysville, where Koehn lives. Some transactions were made in places where Koehn went for vacation.

During her time with Zumiez, she had submitted four vacation requests. The location and time of transactions matched up with her trip plans. Her phone records confirmed she was near Wichita, Kansas, in July 2014 when a purchase was made at a gas station there using a fraudulent pay card, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The company terminated Koehn a month later. However, staff saw an uptick in suspicious activity after she left.

The passwords to the payroll manager’s account hadn’t yet been changed.

In February 2015, four pay cards were used to withdraw money at an ATM in Marysville. The withdrawals were completed within minutes of the company payroll system putting money on the cards.

“The same exact pattern occurred over the next two withdrawal periods, as if the same four employees lined up to make withdrawals at the same time on three separate pay periods, even though one occurred at 1:10 a.m.,” deputy prosecuting attorney Teresa Cox wrote in court papers.

An employee at Zumiez later changed the passwords on the company’s account. She feared the payroll system had been compromised. Almost immediately, five pay cards were drained in Marysville.

Those cards were opened under the name of employees who lived in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and Nebraska.

Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192;

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