Archive for Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Former city employee charged in theft

Thousands of dollars missing from city

November 26, 2002

A former Basehor city employee has been charged in Leavenworth County District Court with stealing money from the city.

Jennifer Srubas-Willis, 27, a former assistant clerk at Basehor City Hall, is charged with felony theft and misuse of public funds.

The charges allege that Srubas-Willis stole more than $500. One of her duties for the city included the handling of utility bill payments.

"Over $500 makes both charges felonies," said Deborah Owen, Leavenworth County victim witness coordinator.

An exact figure of how much Srubas-Willis allegedly stole has not yet been determined. However, the figure could be as high as $8,000, Basehor City Attorney John Thompson said.

Auditors will review city financial records next week and "one of their projects is to establish that number," Thompson said.

Srubas-Willis was taken into police custody Tuesday, Nov. 19, at her home in the 22000 block of Leavenworth Road in Tonganoxie.

She was transported to the Leavenworth County Jail and later released after posting a $5,000 bond.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, in district court. She is represented by attorney Catalina Thompson of Leavenworth.

How the money was allegedly taken has not been revealed.

"That information is probably not going to be released by the county attorney at this point in case it goes to trial," Thompson said.

Basehor Mayor Joseph Scherer said he had no comment concerning the charges against Srubas-Willis.

However, Thompson said Scherer has made his feelings clear on the subject.

"The mayor has indicated to have her prosecuted as vigorously as possible," Thompson said.

Srubas-Willis, a 1992 graduate of Basehor-Linwood High School, was hired as the assistant clerk in June 2001. Her employment was terminated in July 2002.

An official reason for her dismissal was never given by the city.

Basehor Police Chief Vince Weston said the mayor and City Council asked the police department conduct an investigation into missing funds in September.

The investigation concluded Nov. 19 and "sufficient evidence was provided to the county attorney and a warrant was issued," Weston said.

"There's no indication that any other individuals were involved," he said.

Before working for the city, Srubas-Willis was in the accounting departments of several different companies. She has worked for a nonprofit organization, an insurance firm and a doctor's office.

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