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Secretary May Face Charges Of Stealing From County

A former secretary in the King County executive’s office may face theft charges in the loss of more than $24,000, authorities said.

Carol Stevenson admitted to her boss, Fred Stephens, director of the Department of Information and Administrative Services, that she cashed a refund check to a county vendor, according to a state audit released Monday.

“It’s disgusting. It sickens my stomach when I think about it,” Stephens said. “She was a trusted employee with a high level of responsibility, and she exploited that.”

A decision on theft charges is likely within the next two weeks, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman in the county prosecutor’s office.

A first-time conviction for first-degree theft carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Stevenson, 38, was fired Jan. 22, three days after being confronted about the refund.

Investigators said she confessed after a vendor complained about failing to receive a refund on a deposit for a bid. A county purchasing department worker subsequently found a warrant, similar to a check, had been issued and cashed. The secretary’s name, which is being kept confidential, appeared over the company name, and she had endorsed it.

Losses traced to her include $14,441.76 in vendor warrants, $2,679.30 in charges to a county credit card for personal expenses and 7,137.42 in unauthorized pay increases between May 24, 1995, and Jan. 18, the audit said.