Tracey Leigh Schmidtke Salt Lake City worker at Stansbury Service Agency embezzles at least $95K over course of three months to one year from state government agency, with funds spent on dating site, pizza, clothes and son’s utility bills.
A Salt Lake City government agency worker is accused of having embezzled $95,000 and an unknown much higher number in public funds which she spent on car payments, online dating site, eHarmony, Domino’s pizza as well as paying off her son’s utility bills over the course of a year according to reports.
Tracey Leigh Schmidtke, who was office manager for Stansbury Service Agency in Tooele County, Utah, allegedly set up a PayPal account using the agency’s name and credit card and transferred $33,700 from it to her personal bank account over the last three months.
Schmidtke also allegedly used the PayPal account to go on a $40,000 spending spree buying up pizza and clothes from retailers including Amazon, Domino’s, Stitch Fix, Twitch, Urban Outfitters and spending on dating app eHarmony within the same timeframe.
The now-fired agency worker is also accused of using her company credit card to buy $21,184.24 worth of goods in the five months between May 29 and November 3.
The extent of the alleged theft and embezzlement is thought to be far greater than the $94,882.24 uncovered so far as authorities said Schmitdke has admitted to stealing funds from the company for the last year and the PayPal records recovered so far only date back three months.
Found out after service area employee sought to use agency credit card only to be declined
Schmidtke was arrested on November 15 and booked with three felony charges the Salt Lake Tribune reports. She was charged with second-degree felony theft and unlawful use of a financial card transaction, and third-degree felony forgery on November 17.
The former government worker was booked into the Tooele County Jail and her bail set at $50,000.
Stansbury Service Agency is a government agency that oversees the lake, all parks, green space and recreational facilities.
Stansbury Service Agency first learned of the alleged theft and embezzlement of funds involving one of its workers back on November 13 when a service area employee tried to buy electrical equipment using his company credit card and the payment was declined.
The agency launched an investigation and discovered the alleged theft and embezzlement by Schmidtke who, in her role as office manager, was responsible for overseeing all financial transactions and paying bills for the agency.
‘Further investigation revealed that the theft and embezzlement had indeed occurred,’ a statement from the agency read.
The agency immediately fired Schmidtke and notified the police.
Calculated scheme to make false purchases
Tooele County Sheriff’s Office said Schmidtke used her position overseeing agency financials to embezzle tens of thousands of dollars from her employer over the past year, according to the probable cause statement, seen by the dailymail.
The Sheriff’s Office said the suspect confessed during questioning to creating an unauthorized PayPal account under her employer’s name.
She linked the PayPal account to the agency’s checking account and made multiple fraudulent charges and transactions, the PC statement read.
The suspect allegedly admitted she had been sending money from the agency’s account to her personal account using PayPal for the last year.
She also admitted she linked the agency’s checking account to her personal checking account and used it to make numerous car payments, the statement said.
The state worker also allegedly sent funds from the agency’s account to pay for her son’s utility bills in Oregon.
But there’s more.
Schmidtke allegedly attempting to cover her tracks by making fraudulent invoices from businesses to hide where the funds were going over the course of a year.
Tooele County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation is still ongoing and a breakdown of spending on different items and services is not yet publicly available.
To date, the office has just three months of records on the PayPal transactions.
Not immediately clear is why it took the government office up to a year of finding out about the illicit scheme and what checks and balances had been put in place, if any.