2012-01-05 / Front Page

Arrest Made In Chamber Of Commerce Embezzlement

Former chamber employee faces six felony counts
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER

A former bookkeeper was arrested Tuesday morning by Pennsylvania State Police following a 3-1/2 year investigation into the misappropriation of more than $13,000 in money belonging to the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce.

Kathy Leigh (Fester) Carbaugh of 5720 Squirrel Road, Fort Loudon, was arrested by Trooper M.B. Gordon of the Mc- Connellsburg substation on January 3 on one count each of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received, theft by deception, unlawful use of a computer and two counts of forgery. All six counts range in severity from a first-degree to third-degree felony.

Carbaugh was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Wendy Mellott, who set bail at $25,000 unsecured. She is tentatively scheduled to appear in Fulton County Central Court for a preliminary hearing on February 6 at 1:30 p.m.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, allegations against Carbaugh emerged in late May 2008, when a creditor, The Fulton County News, contacted chamber officer Julie Dovey regarding an outstanding bill for advertising. A comparison was made of the “Quicken” accounting program used by Carbaugh against the chamber’s bank statements maintained by F&M Trust. Unlike what Dovey and fellow chamber officers had been led to believe through the Quicken ledger, the check had not been issued, and the debt was still outstanding, the affidavit said.

“It was obvious that the Quicken account was used to satisfy the Chamber members and show a healthy positive balance while the accused (Carbaugh) was not making cash deposits and failing to deposit monies as directed,” Trooper Gordon maintained in the affidavit.

One day after being contacted by the “News,” Dovey and fellow chamber officer Seleen Shives attempted to meet with Carbaugh to rectify the matter, police said. Carbaugh reportedly failed to appear for the meeting, and in a follow-up phone conversation resigned from her duties. The trooper noted in the affidavit, Carbaugh’s personal belongings had already been removed from the office as well as a large amount of chamber records.

The affidavit further maintains, “After the reconciliation (of the chamber’s checking account), Dovey and Shives realized that approximately $30,000 of Chamber of Commerce money was unaccounted for. It appeared to Dovey and Shives that the online Quicken account was being fraudulently kept for a period of approximately one year.”

Police also indicated in the charging documents Carbaugh forged the signatures of two chamber members. The checks totalling $1,944 were made out to Carbaugh and cashed.

On the tails of the investigation already launched by the Chamber, Gordon consulted with forensic accountant Susan Stott. Stott reportedly reviewed the chamber’s financial records.

Gordon said the accountant “learned that a total of $13,432.32 in currency and checks that were to be used for chamber functions and were taken in during chamber functions were never deposited into any chamber bank account.”

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