Pierce County prosecutors have charged a 63-year-old woman with first-degree theft for allegedly stealing more than $90,000 from a Tacoma-based animal hospital.
The woman worked at Portland Avenue Small Animal Hospital, 7418 Portland Ave. E, from 1989 until the thefts were discovered in 2011.
When the owner’s daughter did an audit, she found discrepancies between the cash book and the bank deposits, so she and her father confronted the woman.
The woman did not admit to the theft, so the owner, who considered her “a close friend of the family,” offered her a different position at the animal hospital where she wouldn’t have access to the funds, according to charging documents.
Although the woman agreed to the new post, she did not show up for her next shift and announced she would be retiring.
The owner’s daughter told investigators the hospital’s finances greatly improved after the woman left.
“In the past there were many times when the clinic was so short on funds that (the owner) could not cash his paycheck,” court records show. “It would be the defendant who would tell him that there were no funds for him to cash his check.”
Employees also told detectives they recalled the woman lending money to her friends from the till.
The woman denied stealing the money but said she should have kept a closer eye on the books. She implicated the owner in the thefts, court records show.
She has not yet been arraigned.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653