Former Treasurer Charged With Theft County Prosecutor Says Software Purchase Was Really Western Wear
Former Bonner County Treasurer Karen Weldon was charged with grand theft Friday for allegedly embezzling about $12,000 of taxpayer money.
County Prosecutor Tevis Hull said it appears Weldon took three checks from the treasurer’s offices for a total of $11,218 and put them in her personal account.
She also apparently used a county credit card to charge more than $800 worth of personal items, including Western clothing, he said.
Weldon, 44, was not arrested Friday, but instead ordered to appear in court at a later date and enter a plea to the charge.
Weldon resigned as treasurer last week, but has been under investigation by state and local authorities since February.
That’s when county officials noted some irregularities in her expenses and county credit card use. An internal audit later showed several thousand dollars missing from Weldon’s office.
Commissioners called for an investigation by the State Attorney General’s Office in April. Weldon was placed on medical leave then and barred from the courthouse.
Hull said Weldon spent some of the county’s money while on a trip to Oklahoma City, shortly after the bombing of the federal building there. Weldon was a chaperone with a group of students from Bonner County and used a county credit card to buy clothing at a Western store.
“She purchased what she said was computer software which turned out to be Western wear, pants and things,” Hull said in a taped interview with the local radio station. The clothes weren’t for the kids but for adults or Weldon’s personal use, Hull added.
Weldon allegedly spent other county funds at Kmart and a grocery store in Bonner County.
Weldon, a Republican, earned $31,500 a year and was finishing her sixth year in office.
County commissioners plan to appoint a replacement for Weldon this month. The Republican Central Committee sent three names to the commissioners Friday for them to consider. The candidates include Shannon Syth, who currently works in the county assessor’s office; Jackie Schremser, an unsuccessful candidate for county clerk; and Carla Brown, whose husband was a former county commissioner.