A former secretary for the Bellevue, Idaho-based Blaine-Camas Farm Bureau was recently arraigned on a grand felony embezzlement charge after an internal accounts payable audit found she had allegedly misappropriated more than $35,000 from the organization, according to the Idaho Mountain Express & Guide.
According to an affidavit written by Blaine County sheriff's detective Mark Dalton and quoted by the news source, Shurtz reportedly wrote more than 90 unauthorized checks to herself between February 2006 and May of last year, when the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation launched a year-long AP audit to investigate irregularities. Each check was valued at $500 or less, resulting in a combined total of approximately $35,288.
Shurtz, who pleaded not guilty at the arraignment, claimed she had been authorized to take the money by a Farm Bureau official. The official later denied the accusation.
If convicted, Shurtz faces up to 14 years in prison, the news source reports.
Companies and organizations are advised to conduct regular AP audits in order to identify and mitigate instances of both embezzlement and good-faith financial mistakes.