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Hampton woman charged with $82,000 theft

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The bookkeeper for a local electrical contractor allegedly stole more than $82,000 from the company, one paycheck at a time.

Most of the money, according to the Clayton County Police Department's investigation and official allegations from the District Attorney's Office, was added on to the accountant's regular paycheck, with doctored books concealing the disappearing funds.

Lisa Shane Pounds, a 42-year-old Hampton woman, was indicted last week by a Clayton County grand jury on eleven counts of theft by conversion. She allegedly carried out a 15-month campaign of embezzlement against Penco Electrical Contractors, from June 2004 to September 2005.

"She falsified documents, payroll checks, time records and permitted deductions from Penco accounts for payment of monies to herself," Detective Charles Trollinger wrote in an arrest warrant.

Initial reports placed the total amount stolen somewhere between $99,000 and $250,000.

The theft was discovered during a forensic audit in November 2005, at the 1087 Citizens Parkway, Morrow company. The company conducted its own audit and internal investigation, and then took its evidence to Trollinger.

According to her employer's information, Pounds regularly overpaid herself, transferred money to her credit union account, overpaid an employee, and paid the monthly insurance payment for an employee after he was no longer employed at the company.

The theft was reported by the company's attorney, Calvin Leipold, who told police: "According to our forensic accountant, Pounds embezzled at least $99,000."

The police investigation, however, reduced the alleged theft amount, placing the reportedly documented and provable embezzlement at about $82,000, or roughly $5,500 a month.

In the indictment, prosecutors presented 11 instances of embezzlement. With each theft, the stolen amount remained steady, at between about $500 and about $800 each time.

Pounds is the second Hampton woman indicted this year on charges of embezzlement. Calene Dunn, 56, allegedly wrote herself 199 checks while working as the bookkeeper for a children's shelter. From August 2002 to just before Christmas in 2006, Dunn allegedly wrote herself about $400,000 worth of checks, getting caught when the non-profit organization hired a new director.

Dunn has been accused of writing herself twice-monthly checks of about $2,000 apiece. She is being prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, instead of 199 counts of felony theft by taking. The District Attorney's Office alleges that Dunn, "through a pattern of racketeering activity, did directly acquire and maintain control of certain personal property, to wit: money."

Dunn appeared in court for a pretrial conference on May 30.

Pounds is scheduled to appear in court on June 23.