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Accountant for Darex accused of embezzling

Over 15 months, he allegedly stole more than &

36;500,000 from the Ashland company

ASHLAND ' A Darex Corp. accountant was arrested Thursday for allegedly embezzling more than half a million dollars from the company.

Gary Alan Green, 44, of the first block of Monterey Drive in Medford, was charged with 18 counts of aggravated theft, 34 counts of first-degree theft and 52 counts of laundering a monetary instrument. He was booked and released at the Ashland Police Department.

Green turned himself in to police at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Investigators would not say if Green confessed to the crime.

Ashland detectives have been investigating the embezzlement from Darex since company officials reported the theft on Aug. 9. The Hersey Street company manufactures and markets drill-bit sharpeners for professional and personal use.

Darex's owner, Dave Bernard, and its president, Gary Varney, noticed irregularities in the company's bookkeeping and notified police, said Ashland police Detective Brent Jensen. Investigators discovered that more than &

36;500,000 had been stolen from the company between March 26, 2001, and June 17 of this year. Green allegedly transferred the stolen funds through a bank to disguise where the money came from, Jensen said.

I think it's pretty devastating to the Darex family, Bernard said.

Green has been in charge of the company's accounting since 1997 but asked to start working part-time about two months ago, Bernard said. Green volunteered to work two half-days each week when the company started downsizing earlier this year, Bernard added.

Bernard said Green was still an employee of Darex on Thursday but was considered to be on leave. Company officials have not yet discussed the charges with Green, who had been out of town for several weeks on vacation, Bernard said.

Green was a suspect in the case before his arrest, Jensen said. Green's attorney called the police department Thursday morning and arranged for his client to meet with investigators, Jensen said. The case will be forwarded to the Jackson County District Attorney's Office.

Jensen said the embezzlement is most likely unrelated to a December break-in at Darex and its sister company ProTool, which shares the same building.

Thieves broke a window at ProTool and stole laptop computers, a VCR, digital cameras and other items whose value was estimated by a company official at about &

36;10,000. There was minor damage to the businesses as the burglars rifled through drawers and searched for things to steal, police said. There was no arrest made for the burglary, and the case is still open.

Ranked this year by Oregon Business magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies to work for, Darex has 45 employees.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail