Florida & polk county , winter haven news

Woman Charged With Defrauding Her Employer, A Haines City Car Dealership, Of Nearly $450,000

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A company comptroller was arrested on Tuesday evening after defrauding her former
employer, a local car dealership, out of nearly $450,000.


Marion Chamberlain, 37, of Kissimmee is charged with grand theft of between $20,000 and $100,000 and


obtaining property of greater than $50,000 by fraud. She was arrested at her home and transported to the Polk
County Jail.


An audit conducted by Miracle Toyota, a subsidiary of Murphy Auto Group, found that Chamberlain had written 63 checks to herself and another to her husband dating back to February 2020, valued at more than $447,000. Chamberlain, an employee since 2017, was tasked with logging vendors, issuing payments and
accounting for the company’s finances.
To conceal the fact that the checks were written to herself, she created new vendors in the company’s accounting system. She would take the checks directly from a printer near her workspace.


Chamberlain violated company policy by not having the checks signed by two separate parties and was fired for poor performance in June.


Last week, a financial services company that cashes checks provided 11 fraudulent checks that were cashed by Chamberlain, totaling nearly $80,000. As part of the ongoing investigation, detectives are working with other financial institutions to verify that Chamberlain signed and cashed additional fraudulent checks.
Charges are then expected to be upgraded to grand theft of more than $100,000 – a first-degree felony. Her current grand theft charge is a second-degree felony.


“During a time where millions of Americans were out of work, this woman was not only fortunate to have a job working for an established, community-minded company, but she had the gall to steal from them,” Interim Police Chief Loyd Stewart said. “Often times, these types of crimes go undetected. We commend Miracle Toyota for taking action and our detectives for their thorough investigation.”

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