EDMONDS, Wash., November 8, 2023—A year-long investigation by Edmonds Police Detective Julie Govantes leads to the arrest of a 51-year-old Lynnwood woman for 1st-degree Theft and Identity Theft in the 1st degree in connecting to defrauding her employer of over $130,000.
The suspect was arrested near her Lynnwood home on November 2, 2023, and booked into the Snohomish County Jail, from an investigation that began in September of 2022 by the owner of an Edmonds dentistry.
The victim stated that she suspected an employee, someone she had known for nearly thirty years, had been defrauding the business in her role as office manager. The victim had been alerted to suspicious activity as far back as 2017 but addressed it with the employee and considered the situation resolved.
In September 2022 the victim hired a consultant to perform a business audit. From those results, it was suspected that the suspect had opened multiple accounts in the name of the business or the business owner and made purchases of goods or services for her gain. The suspect was terminated.
Detective Julie Govantes obtained multiple search warrants and worked with banks, credit card companies, and the victim to reconcile purchases. Over $250,000 worth of charges were in question.
Detective Govantes was able to establish evidence the suspect had defrauded the business and victim of over $130,000 with many of the purchases being for jewelry, shoes, clothes, handbags, cosmetic services, and other personal items. There was evidence to support that the suspect took advantage of the trust the victim had in her and used it to steal from the company.
During the investigation, Detective Govantes also discovered the suspect had a previous arrest and conviction from 2014 for defrauding another dentist’s office. She was convicted of 1st-degree theft in that case. During the investigation, two other dentists’ offices where the suspect had worked were contacted. Both of those businesses had fired the suspect for theft but did not call the police after she agreed to pay them back.
Detective Govantes encourages businesses to maintain diligent financial habits saying, “Small businesses should routinely use an outside auditor to review their accounts and business practices. Owners should make sure there is regular communication and oversight of those who are responsible for the company’s finances. Enabling fraud alerts and investigating those notifications is crucial.”
The suspect has since been released from jail pending official charges.
Detective Govantes will continue working with the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office as they review the case.
SOURCE: Edmonds Police Department