Alleged Bilker: 'Not Guilty'
BOULDER, Colo., Aug. 18, 2009 – A former bookkeeper who allegedly embezzled $230,000 from laser optics company Precision Photonics Corp. entered a not guilty plea in Boulder district court Friday.
Prosecutors said Amber Marie Turner, who worked for Precision Photonics until May 2008, took the money through forgery and unauthorized credit card charges. She allegedly made more than $140,000 in unauthorized purchases between July 2007 and April 2008 after opening a company American Express account in her name.
She allegedly spent her ill-gotten gains on purchases including a shopping spree at Nordstrom, airline tickets, a Royal Caribbean luxury cruise, a flat-screen TV and a $56,000 Mercedes Benz, local newspaper the Daily Camera reported.
Boulder-based Precision Photonics makes custom coatings, optical components and assemblies for telecommunications, defense, aerospace, biomedicine and semiconductor manufacturing. The company was named a 2009 Colorado Companies to Watch award winner in April, presented by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
According to Turner’s arrest affidavit, company founders Chris Myatt and Sarah Hatcher told police that Turner also added her name to the company’s MasterCard account and made 79 unauthorized ATM cash advance withdrawals totaling $40,000 over a three-month period in late 2007 and early 2008.
Turner would allegedly download monthly credit card statements and remove her purchases, Hatcher and Myatt told police, then pay the purchases off using the company’s checking account. Turner is also alleged to have paid herself nearly $7700 by forging Hatcher’s signature on checks.
According to the newspaper, Myatt told police he only noticed the embezzled funds after firing the financial controller last year and going through the company’s financial records.
Company officials told police that Turner’s alleged actions forced them to lay off workers, the Daily Camera said. According to the 2009 Photonics Directory Corporate Guide, the company has 40 employees.
Turner, who was arrested in May, faces felony charges for theft over $20,000, unauthorized use of a financial transaction device over $20,000, and identity theft. She remains free on a $10,000 bond; a jury trial has been scheduled for Jan. 15, 2010.
For more information, visit: www.dailycamera.com
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