St. George woman allegedly steals nearly $350,000 from employer

Stock image | Photo by Chalabala/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A woman is in jail after allegedly stealing nearly $350,000 from her employer by falsifying records and conducting unauthorized transactions on company accounts.

Enid Brown, 52, of St. George, booking photo posted in Washington County, Utah, Feb. 8, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The woman, 52-year-old Enid Brown, of St. George, was arrested Friday and faces several felony charges relating to the alleged theft.

The money was allegedly stolen from a real estate firm that discovered the theft during an internal audit. Once the firm became aware of the theft in January, they met with the defendant, who allegedly admitted to taking the money and said the theft started in 2016 when she took from the petty cash fund.

Brown was hired as the firm’s office manager/controller in 2016, a position that gave her access to a number of the company’s bank accounts. Over the course of three years, she allegedly stole more than $347,000, according to the affidavit of probable cause written in support of her arrest.

According to the statement, she said the theft started when she realized she could use a company credit card. She also admitted to withdrawing money from ATM machines and using Venmo, a digital wallet service that allows users to make and share payments with friends, to transfer money to her children.

In order to conceal the theft, Brown allegedly withdrew money from one of the firm’s small business accounts and then replaced the funds by transferring money from the general account into the small business account.

She also allegedly altered a number of company bank statements in order to hide the losses and discrepancies that existed between the accounts.

Police were provided a copy of one such statement, where a piece of paper showing fraudulent dollar amounts was taped over the actual amounts shown on the legitimate statement issued by the bank. The document was then scanned to provide the company with inaccurate account balances that were higher than what was actually in the accounts.

According to the statement, Brown originally told the firm that she took an estimated combined total of about $150,000. However, after reviewing the statements from the two accounts, the firm determined that more than $271,750 was removed from the small business account and more than $76,000 from the general account, at which point the company decided to pursue criminal charges.

After her arrest Friday, Brown was booked into jail on five second-degree felony counts of theft, one for each year that more than $5,000 was taken from each of the two accounts, as well as one second-degree felony charge of unlawfully dealing of property by a fiduciary, due to her trusted position dealing with finances. She also faces one third-degree felony charge of unlawful acquisition of a finance card and a misdemeanor count of theft.

At the time of this report, Brown is being held at Purgatory Correctional Facility in Washington County on $10,000 bond.

This report is based on statements from police and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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