Crime

Former Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department employee accused of stealing from agency

Staff writerMarch 24, 2014 

A former employee of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department is charged with stealing nearly $17,000 from the agency while she worked there last year.

Dolanna K. Burnett, 39, has been summoned to Pierce County Superior Court next month to be arraigned on nine felonies, including multiple counts of theft and forgery.

Attempts to reach her for comment were not immediately successful.

Burnett became the target of a criminal probe after Health Department officials late last year hired an outside investigator to look into four instances where fraudulent checks were issued from the agency’s accounts, court records show.

The investigator found that Burnett allegedly had identified instances where the Health Department issued a refund check to someone whose business with the agency had fallen through, the records show.

Burnett is alleged to have used her insider knowledge to request that a duplicate refund be issued and then depositing those checks into her personal business account, the records show. Prosecutors contend she forged the signatures of the original check recipients before depositing the funds via ATMs.

“It appeared that most of the spending that was being done on (Burnett’s) account was for construction items,” deputy prosecutor Michelle Hyer wrote in charging documents. “Per the Tacoma Health Department business manager, the defendant had been building a home.”

Burnett allegedly said, “Awesome,” when confronted with the allegations but declined to make any other statements, court records show.

Burnett was hired by the Health Department in November 2012 and was fired from her $79,955-per-year job as a budgeting and accounting coordinator in January of this year, agency spokeswoman Edie Jeffers said Monday.

 

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