Lynnwood bookkeeper embezzles $230K from security company

Sheryl Rucker pleaded guilty to stealing from her employer, Absco Solutions. She must pay back the money.

MONROE — The bookkeeper said she took the money from her work in Lynnwood to support a gambling habit. She intended to pay it back, she said, but she never came out on top.

In all, an internal investigation and followup detective work determined more than $230,000 had gone missing from Absco Solutions, a Lynnwood company that helps companies and agencies install security systems.

Sheryl Rucker, 46, of Monroe, was sentenced on Jan. 15 in Snohomish County Superior Court to two months in jail . She pleaded guilty to first-degree theft.

According to charging papers, she used her accountant position to manipulate financial records at Absco. Among the company’s clients are theaters, hotels, schools, stores like Nordstrom and Rosauers, Lumen Field in Seattle and federal government facilities.

Rucker’s bosses didn’t notice she had been taking money until after she resigned in June 2018, when she took a different job so she could work from home, deputy prosecutor Bob Hendrix wrote.

Others at the company noticed the payroll accounts looked odd. An internal investigation found that more money had been deposited in Rucker’s accounts than what was reported in financial records.

Fifty-five entries on the company’s QuickBooks accounting software had been manipulated or deleted, according to court papers. At least 29 paper checks had forged signatures and were made out to Rucker. She gave herself commission bonuses, even though her position didn’t qualify for commission.

On her last day, June 6, 2018, shredding services were scheduled. Vendor statements and other documents had gone missing. It turned out that she made fake bills to nonexistent vendors and made a direct deposit for herself.

A vice president with the company told police Rucker had permission to process checks, “but never had permission to forge a signature or to receive the unauthorized, or inflated, undocumented payments,” Hendrix wrote.

Rucker reportedly admitted to police she used her knowledge of QuickBooks and the company’s financials to take money. She was surprised to see how high the amount was, and acknowledged she hadn’t been keeping track.

In a memorandum submitted to the court, a psychiatrist wrote that Rucker “has a longstanding history of untreated severe depression and anxiety.”

Superior Court Judge George Appel ordered Rucker to pay more than $244,000 in restitution.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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