Archive for Thursday, May 12, 2005

Diversion reached in chamber theft

Former office manager agrees to pay restitution, avoid charges

May 12, 2005

— A former officer manager accused of embezzling funds from the Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce has entered into a diversion agreement to avoid prosecution.

The chamber's board of directors and Whitney Hamblin, the chamber's former office manager, agreed to a diversion for Hamblin's theft of $2,258.98 in checks from chamber coffers between June and September of 2004. Hamblin had worked for the chamber for two years.

The diversion agreement, filed in Leavenworth Municipal Court, requires Hamblin to "refrain from violating the law, avoid injurious or vicious habits including the use of illegal drugs or excessive use of alcohol, avoid association with persons who have had or who are in difficulty with the law, and work faithfully at suitable employment if possible."

The agreement also requires Hamblin to pay $1,000 to the Leavenworth City/County Probation Office and the restitution of the stolen check funds through monthly payments to the chamber until December.

In December 2004, an accounting firm hired by the chamber verified that accounting discrepancies were the result of thefts that took place between January 2003 and October 2004. Bills on unauthorized cellular phones made up the bulk of those funds, which have been repaid by Hamblin. The audit also discovered several unauthorized checks made out to Hamblin.

Charlie Gregor Jr. said he'd never had to deal with a similar situation in his 21 years as executive vice president of the chamber.

Gregor said it hasn't soured his outlook, though: "People make mistakes. We understand that - of course, we don't condone it."

Gregor said the diversion agreement was the best possible solution for the chamber as well as for Hamblin, who will avoid a trial if she completes the diversion successfully.

"Probably the strongest appeal of diversion was repayment. We're glad she agreed to that," Gregor said.

Hamblin could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, E. Roger Horsky, Leavenworth, said Hamblin was working in Kansas City, Kan.

More from lansingcurrent.com: Police look into chamber thefts (Dec. 23, 2004 Lansing Current)

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