WENATCHEE — The former director of Grief Place NCW Loss Support was formally charged Monday with stealing from the agency she steered for the last two years.
Karen R. Sheppard, 50, faces a single felony count of second-degree theft after police said she spent about $3,400 in Grief Place funds for personal use without authorization, from November 2011 to last July.
Wenatchee Police Detective Keith Kellogg began investigating Sheppard in July after board members of the Grief Place, which aids families coping with the deaths of loved ones, noted odd charges on the nonprofit agency’s debit card accounts.
In a court affidavit, Kellogg said Sheppard spent at least $2,393 of Grief Place’s money for personal shopping and services over about 18 months. The largest single expenditure was $185 at Walmart; the smallest were iTunes downloads for $1.07 apiece.
Sheppard also spent about $1,000 from Grief Place accounts on a June 2012 trip to a Florida conference, above the $1,500 she’d been allotted for the event, Kellogg wrote.
Sheppard became executive director in June 2011, after five months as its office assistant. As director, she was in charge of the agency’s purchasing and bookkeeping.
Boardmembers confronted Sheppard about the expenditures in July, and she paid back about $2,095 of the identified purchases. But Kellogg said “there are dozens of other purchases that are suspicious,” such as debits to buy postage when Grief Place already had free mailing services through Central Washington Hospital.
Sheppard, who has no prior criminal record, remains free without bail. She faces a likely maximum of 90 days’ incarceration if convicted. Her trial dates will be set Monday.