Former city employees accused of embezzlement after AP audit uncovers theft

Two former employees of a North Carolina city are being accused of stealing money from the municipality during a six-year period, and both pleaded guilty to the charges against them. In all, the workers embezzled more than $500,000 throughout their scheme, and their activity was discovered after an accounts payable audit revealed several discrepancies within the town’s financial records.

According to the Gaston Gazette, Bonny Alexander and Jennifer Hoyle were employed by the city of Cherryville, where they worked as finance director and as the municipality’s utilities director, respectively. When the AP audit uncovered their theft, it was shown that Alexander had taken approximately $435,000, while Hoyle had stolen almost $100,000.

The news source reports that prosecutors allege that Alexander managed to steal funds from Cherryville by writing unauthorized weekly payroll checks to herself, which were found to be 300 percent more than her normal salary. Investigators state that she embezzled around $309,500 from the city’s coffers with this method, and spent it on a variety of personal purchases, including shopping, travel expenses and other items and services. In addition, Alexander used Cherryville’s money to pay off her credit cards to the tune of $97,000. To hide her theft, Alexander removed the checks she had written to herself from the town’s financial records, the source writes.

As for Hoyle, the AP audit revealed that she had stolen approximately $92,900 by collecting utility payments made in cash from Cherryville residents, and instead of depositing the funds into the city’s accounts, she would pocket the money, reports the Charlotte Observer. She would alter the town’s bookkeeping records to make it look as though the payments had been posted.

The news source states that both Alexander and Hoyle face up to 10 years in prison each for their crime as well as a $250,000 fine.

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