Embezzlement alleged within SJB chamber board

Bills

A former San Juan Bautista Chamber of Commerce board member is
accused of felony embezzlement and forgery charges in connection
with the suspected theft of more than $15,000, the San Benito
County Sheriff’s Office announced late last week after receiving an
inquiry from the newspaper.
A former San Juan Bautista Chamber of Commerce board member is accused of felony embezzlement and forgery charges in connection with the suspected theft of more than $15,000, the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office announced late last week after receiving an inquiry from the newspaper.

The sheriff’s office forwarded a report to the district attorney recommending one count of embezzlement and 156 counts of forgery, said Detective Sgt. Tom Keylon with the local sheriff’s office. The office released a press statement Thursday after a Free Lance inquiry about the case’s status noting how the recommended charges had been submitted the prior week.

District Attorney Candice Hooper confirmed she received the report, though she said she had just gotten it on her desk Thursday, on New Year’s Eve. On Monday, Hooper confirmed there had been no new developments in the case involving potential charges.

Investigators allege the former board member – authorities are not releasing the name until charges are potentially filed – forged checks that totaled $15,545 over about a year’s time until early 2009, Keylon said.

The sheriff’s office investigation began in August when the chamber board requested a meeting because the organization had been missing money, Keylon said. The detective confirmed the former member suspected of the charges was not in attendance at that meeting.

Investigators’ probe after several months was stalled temporarily, the detective said, because chamber officials had been examining whether it was appropriate to seek civil or criminal action.

The San Juan Bautista Chamber of Commerce office could not be reached for possible comment before press time. Its Web site, www.sjbchamber.com, lists three positions on the board of directors as being “interim” – the president, vice president and treasurer.

Chamber Interim President George Dias could not be reached for comment, while Interim Vice President Donna Holmes declined to comment when reached Monday.

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