A Salt Lake City government agency worker, 59, has been accused of embezzling at least $95,000 of public funds which she spent on car payments, eHarmony dating site, Domino’s pizza and to pay for her son’s utility bills.
Tracey Leigh Schmidtke, who was office manager for Stansbury Service Agency in Tooele County, Utah, allegedly set up a PayPal account using the agency’s name and credit card and transferred $33,700 from it to her personal bank account over the last three months.
Schmidtke also allegedly used the PayPal account to go on a $40,000 spending spree buying up pizza and clothes from retailers including Amazon, Domino’s, Stitch Fix, Twitch, Urban Outfitters and spending on dating app eHarmony within the same timeframe.
The now-fired agency worker is also accused of using her company credit card to buy $21,184.24 worth of goods in the five months between May 29 and November 3.
The extent of the alleged theft and embezzlement is thought to be far greater than the $94,882.24 uncovered so far as authorities said Schmitdke has admitted to stealing funds from the company for the last year and the PayPal records recovered so far only date back three months.
Schmidtke was arrested on November 15 and slapped with three felony charges.
Tracey Leigh Schmidtke has been accused of embezzling at least $95,000 of public funds
Stansbury Service Agency first learned of the alleged theft and embezzlement of funds involving one of its workers back on November 13 when a service area employee tried to buy electrical equipment using his company credit card and the payment was declined.
The agency launched an investigation and discovered the alleged theft and embezzlement by Schmidtke who, in her role as office manager, was responsible for overseeing all financial transactions and paying bills for the agency.
‘Further investigation revealed that the theft and embezzlement had indeed occurred,’ a statement from the agency read.
The agency immediately fired Schmidtke and notified the police.
Tooele County Sheriff’s Office said Schmidtke used her position to embezzle tens of thousands of dollars from her employer over the past year, according to the probable cause statement, seen by DailyMail.com.
The Sheriff’s Office said the suspect confessed during questioning to creating an unauthorized PayPal account under her employer’s name.
She linked the PayPal account to the agency’s checking account and made multiple fraudulent charges and transactions, the PC statement read.
The suspect allegedly admitted she had been sending money from the agency’s account to her personal account using PayPal for the last year.
She also used the PayPal account to make $40,000 worth of purchases of items from Amazon, eHarmony, Domino’s, Stitch Fix, Twitch, Urban Outfitters and many others in the last three months, the probable cause statement said.
She also admitted she linked the agency’s checking account to her personal checking account and has used it to make numerous car payments, the statement said.
She also allegedly sent funds from the agency’s account to pay for her son’s utility bills in Oregon.
Schmidtke is also accused of trying to cover her tracks for almost a year by making fraudulent invoices from businesses to hide where the funds were going.
Tooele County Sheriff’s Office told DailyMail.com the investigation is still ongoing and a breakdown of spending on different items and services is not yet publicly available.
To date, the office has just three months of records on the PayPal transactions.
The office also said Schmidtke ‘could not say on what or how much she bought’ using the company credit card and the full extent of the alleged theft and embezzlement is not yet known.
Stansbury Service Area board chair Mike Johnson said it comes as a major blow to the agency
Schmidtke was arrested and booked into Tooele County Jail on November 15.
She was charged with second-degree felony theft and unlawful use of a financial card transaction, and third-degree felony forgery on November 17.
She was booked into the Tooele County Jail and her bail set at $50,000.
She was ordered to surrender her passport, is barred her from hiding or selling any property, and must wear an ankle monitor.
Stansbury Service Agency is also investigating the allegations alongside forensic accounting firm Rocky Mountain Advisory to uncover how much was stolen, how the theft occurred and whether internal processes and controls were followed.
The agency will present the findings in a report to the board of trustees.
Stansbury Service Area board chair Mike Johnson told the Salt Lake Tribune it was not clear how long the incident was ongoing.
‘It will be a substantial amount, that’s all I’m going to say.’
He said it comes as a major blow to the agency.
‘This is not easy for an agency of our size to deal with,’ he added.
‘In addition to the financial loss, you’ve got our manager and assistant manager spending all their time going through records and meeting with auditors instead of doing the work of the agency.’
Stansbury Service Agency is a government agency that oversees the lake, all parks, green space and recreational facilities.