by: Lee Stoll Updated:
OAK HARBOR, Wash. - Detectives in Oak Harbor want to hear from any groups that hired a local woman to handle accounts and bookkeeping.
According to court papers, 50-year-old Wendy Murphy stole more than $200,000 from two community homeowner association accounts.
"I try not to think too much about her because you shouldn't think things like that about people," said Treasurer Dan Kelly.
Kelly didn't know anything was missing from the Rolling Hills Glencairn Community account until the bank called in February. Murphy had apparently billed more than $20,000 in cash advances to a company credit card. Kelly checked the books and found another $30,000 missing from the reserve fund.
"We feel betrayed," said office manager Valerie Wiley.
Board members say Murphy collected water bill payments form residents and they claim she pocketed anything paid in cash. They also say money was moved to hide charges at a local casino.
Detectives say Murphy stole another $168,000 from the Hillcrest Village Water Company.
"Maybe she's kept books for other people that we're unaware of so we're asking them to come forward if they have similar issues," said Island County Sheriff Mark Brown.
Kelly said Murphy called and apologized. According to court papers, Murphy told police she stole money and was going to give them a statement. She hired a lawyer and is now apparently not talking.
Kelly said the money was going to pay for improvements in the middle-income community, including a new pool deck and water softener system.
"We're not rolling in money. We wouldn't be rolling in money even if she hadn't stolen anything," said Kelly.
Murphy had access to personal accounts. They have been reviewed and nothing is missing. Kelly said he never had a reason to be suspicious.
"Everything had been perfect for a long time and we never thought to ask," said Kelly.