The office manager for a Prosser car dealership is accused of embezzling $62,000 by moving money around to different accounts and writing checks to petty cash and herself.
Amanda Wabeke was arrested by Prosser police on Friday, one day after a warrant was issued.
Prosecutors charged Wabeke, 31, in Benton County Superior Court with first-degree theft.
In one instance, Wabeke was preparing for Tom Denchel Ford Country’s 2016 Christmas party when she made out a check to petty cash, according to court documents..
The money was to be used to pay the vendors and to give each employee a Christmas card for $50. A balance of $11,250 was never accounted for after the party, prosecutors allege.
When the company comptroller noticed unusual activity last May and asked Wabeke about the checks, the manager said, “she had made a mistake and must have ‘fat fingered’ the numbers,” court documents said.
The dealership’s accountant then reviewed the books and found numerous unauthorized transactions totaling $61,688, documents said.
However, Wabeke reportedly told Tom Denchel during an October meeting that the amount she owes the dealership is closer to $25,166, according to court documents.
Police were contacted by the dealership in November. Wabeke declined to speak during their investigation.
A news release from Prosser police said Wabeke started working at the Wine Country Road dealership in 2010 as an account specialist.
The embezzlement started in June 2013, and involved a high degree of sophistication or planning, the use of a position of trust and a monetary loss substantially greater than is typical for theft, court documents said.
Documents list 23 suspicious transactions over the following four years.
The allegations include posting money to a customer receivable account and later reclassifying it as a bad debt, writing a check claiming it was a 401(k) loan, pocketing a customer’s cash, and applying a credit to a personal account after overpaying a vendor.
Documents claim Wabeke on several occasions would cash special incentive checks intended for sales people, but never give the money to the sales manager to give to the employees.