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MailTribune.com
  • Former bookkeeper found guilty of stealing from lumber company

  • A Central Point woman charged with embezzling more than $175,000 from her former employer was found guilty of several theft charges today in Jackson County Circuit Court.
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  • A Central Point woman charged with embezzling more than $175,000 from her former employer was found guilty of several theft charges today in Jackson County Circuit Court.
    Amanda Ann Shannon, 34, of the 800 block of Westrop Drive, pleaded guilty before Circuit Judge Kelly Ravassipour to three counts of first-degree aggravated theft and one count of first-degree theft, according to court records. Four additional counts of first-degree aggravated theft were dismissed.
    Aggravated theft charges apply to thefts of more than $10,000 under Oregon law.
    Prosecutor Mandi Gould of the Jackson County District Attorney's Office said Shannon was sentenced to spend a year in the Jackson County Jail for her crimes. She also will serve two years of probation and must pay back the pilfered $175,295, Gould said.
    Shannon was a bookkeeper at Western Lumber Co. from May 2010 through November 2012 when she was caught embezzling by another company bookkeeper.
    "She was confronted by the bookkeeper and that's what led to the investigation," Gould said.
    Investigators determined Shannon had been stealing money from the business and depositing it into credit card accounts belonging to her and her boyfriend, Kevin Chestnut.
    Chestnut was cited and released by police for accepting the embezzled funds. In February, he pleaded no contest to a single first-degree theft charge in exchange for the dismissal of seven other theft charges. He was sentenced to 18 months' bench probation and ordered to pay restitution, court records show.
    Medford police Detective Sgt. Brent Mak said most company embezzlement cases involve longtime employees.
    "So this is an issue of misplaced trust," Mak said. "They're in a position where they can do a lot of damage financially."
    Mak added having an airtight system of checks and balances is key to preventing embezzlement. Random audits that aren't forecast are also important, he said.
    "It's like a pop quiz in high school," Mak said.
    Reach Mail Tribune reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.
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