Sheila L. Smith was an accounting technician for the city of Cottage Grove, Oregon. She was making good money, however, obviously she didn’t feel it was enough. She allegedly embezzled nearly $13,000 in public funds, beginning June 2011 up until January 2013.
The 44-year-old Cottage Grove resident was arrested and taken to the Lane County Jail, where she was charged with 12 counts of first degree theft. Smith turned herself in.
Smith has been working as an accounting tech since 1988 and she was promoted to senior accounting technician in 2002. After the discrepancies were found in the utility accounts, she was placed on administrative leave.
When the imbalances of accounts were first located, it was believed to be a result of a computer program error, however the final report was that it “appeared to be an exploitation of a weakness in the computer software by an employee.”
Smith was fired on January 28, 2013. Police investigations proved the theft and all of the documents were sent to the Lane County District Attorney’s Office.
Police had worked with finance employees and an accounting firm, delving into every transaction where the city was involved. The investigation took into account all transactions over the past six years.
The city was in the process of purchasing new financial software when the embezzlement case was discovered. The new system contained tight security features that will prevent thefts such as this from happening in the future.
Insurance will cover the $12,882 that was taken from the city funds.