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‘Grandma’ Admits Embezzling $346,000

MONDAY, MARCH 30, 1998

A 62-year-old woman, known to co-workers as “Grandma,” has pleaded guilty to embezzling $346,000 from 8,000 Highline Water District customers - the largest case of its kind in the state.

Emma Jane Martin of Renton faces up to 90 days in jail for first-degree theft under state sentencing guidelines, but prosecutors say they’ll recommend an exceptional 33-month prison sentence.

They will also ask King County Superior Court Judge Sharon S. Armstrong to order Martin to repay the money.

Deputy Prosecutor Scott Peterson said he believes Martin used the money to pay for medical bills for a family member and will probably not be able to repay the funds.

Auditors say Martin began running “a lapping scheme” in early 1995, in which payments were stolen and concealed by crediting checks later received to the old account balances.


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