Local woman nabbed for embezzlement <br>

Debbie Woskobojnik

According to the business’ owner, James Malone, suspicion arose nearly four months ago when, after being dissatisfied with Woskobojnik’s handling of financial records, a new accountant was hired in her place.

“As soon as we hired the new bookkeeper, she said we were supposed to have so many thousands of dollars in the account and all we had was $9,000,” Malone said.

In fact, while discussing the discrepancies with their bank at one point, an unauthorized $2,500 withdrawal was made from the existing $9,000 while they watched. The owners and their new accountant continued checking deeper into the matter and were having a difficult time retrieving past financial records from the former employee.

What they finally found was that apparently, Woskobojnik had been making illegal deposits — about $5,000 per month in some instances, according to Malone — into a personal Californiabased Providian account from as far back as June 2004. Malone said the amounts could total as much as $40,000-$50,000, possibly more.

On March 24, Malone and his family filed an official report against Woskobojnik with the WPD.

The next day, WPD officers executed a search warrant in the early afternoon to retrieve evidence in the form of documents from the suspect. According to police reports, Woskobojnik was not home at the time. Her husband — who kept separate bank accounts and never had access to his wife’s accounting business — stated he was sure the incident was a mistake, and would send her to the station to clear it up once she returned home.

Three hours later, Woskobojnik arrived at the WPD station. The same reports indicate that the suspect denied involvement at first, but when confronted with documentation during a taped interview, she admitted to embezzling the money from Malone’s.

“She was very upset and embarrassed,” said WPD Sgt. Brian Tozer, one of the case’s investigating officers.

Tozer explained that the suspect had evidently fallen on hard financial times and saw the embezzlement as the only way out, adding that she didn’t spend the money frivolously, but rather purchased “everyday” items and paid off bills.

Woskobojnik worked for Malone’s Automotive for fourtofive years, according to the owners whom, not surprisingly, are both saddened and worried by the affair.

“It’s pretty personal,” said Malone, citing that during Woskobojnik’s employment, he had hired her husband on jobs and was familiar with the family. “You put a lot of trust in your bookkeepers.”

The owners said they have enough in savings to continue operating the business and that most creditors have been understanding on the matter. Malone says that at this point, he doesn’t know how much, if any, of the stolen money he’ll be able to recover.

“This is the first time in 41 years in business in Williams that this has happened to me,” Malone said.

Woskobojnik, released over the weekend on her own recognizance, was originally arrested on a charge of fraudulent schemes — a class two felony — but Tozer says since the investigation is continuing other charges may or may not apply.

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