$568,000 theft over 7 years is alleged
Woman arrested after 6-month probe
A Grand Junction woman will have to answer for $568,000 worth of baby clothes, video games, cigarettes, movies, food and other household items that police allege she bought over seven years by embezzling from her Grand Junction employer.
Amber Kristine Butler, 35, who formerly worked for structural engineering company Lindauer & Dunn Inc., 802 Rood Ave., was arrested on a warrant Sept. 10 on felony charges of theft, identity theft and forgery. Butler, who lives at 477 Harris Road, is free on a $10,000 bond.
According to Butler’s arrest affidavit, business owners Lee Lindauer and Jeffrey Dunn were contacted by their accountant in March about a $11,000 in discrepancy in the company’s QuickBook accounts.
During the ensuing investigation, the owners discovered Butler had opened a PayPal account, had forged checks and had purchased numerous personal items on the company’s credit cards and online accounts, the affidavit alleges.
Butler, who handled the company’s payroll and purchased office supplies, was fired March 13, the affidavit said.
During a six-month investigation by police, Dunn and Lindauer determined Butler had embezzled $568,277.06, during her employment from 2001 to 2008, the affidavit alleges.
“Lee and Jeff began going through the QuickBooks program and discovered there were numerous missing check numbers from the register,” the affidavit said. “Lee and Jeff believe Amber was creating entries into the QuickBooks program, then deleting the entries and making checks payable to herself, in excess to her salary.”
The owners used an audit function on the computer program that revealed the deleted checks entries, though it didn’t show how much was paid or to whom.
According to the affidavit, Grand Junction Police Department detective Jeremiah Boies uncovered the following:
• Between 2001 and 2004, Butler fraudulently cashed 152 checks for a total of $287,694. Some of the checks had forged signatures. Dunn and Lindauer said they regularly signed blank checks that Butler was authorized to use to buy office supplies.
• Butler paid 101 payments of $48,836 to a PayPal account using the company’s checking account and a credit card. A hidden address on the PayPal account listed Butler’s name and home address.
• Butler charged $14,054 to Amazon.com and Target.com, buying mostly baby-related items. Some of the 57 orders were delivered to the company’s office.
• Butler cashed $201,539 worth of checks into her personal checking account.
• Butler made purchases at Sam’s Club and Grand Junction’s two Wal-Marts to the tune of $32,707. The items included video games, food and movies.
Butler is scheduled to return to court Dec. 11.
She has no criminal history in Colorado, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.