While accounts payable audits may serve as strong pieces of evidence against those charged with embezzlement, it is ultimately up to the judge and jury to hand down their findings. One company in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was certainly shocked when an ex-employee was acquitted of the embezzlement charges against her.
According to The Associated Press, Tammy Lias had worked as a therapist at the Family Institute of the Midwest and was asked to fill in as bookkeeper temporarily. The business claims that she stole more than $70,000 from its accounts to pay for a variety of personal expenses, including electric bills, diapers and registering fees for her Arabian horses.
Despite this illegal activity, Keloland TV reports that Lias was acquitted of the one count of grand theft charge against her. Judge Kathleen Caldwell handed down her ruling, which stated that Lias did not intentionally steal the funds from the organization. Lias' lawyers argued that she had filled in as bookkeeper but had gotten in over her head. They also said that Lias perhaps did not manage the institute's finances properly, but she never meant to steal money for her own personal purchases. However, the news source writes that the business' executive director, Carol Carlsen, will be filing a civil suit against Lias, as she still believes that the former bookkeeper knew what she was doing when she embezzled from the accounts.