Last week, a State Library employee turned herself in for allegedly embezzling $110,000 of privately donated funds. The 39-year-old employee was arrested and booked on 174 counts of unauthorized use of a credit card and 94 counts of forgery and felony theft according to the arrest warrant. Many of these checks were simply made out to “cash.”

The library employee worked as the executive assistant to the state librarian since 1996. Her position gave her access to private funds donated to the Louisiana State Library Foundation. Throughout the course of her employment, the defendant allegedly used the foundation’s credit cared for unauthorized purchases totaling $27,583 and wrote unauthorized checks from the foundation’s account totaling $82,503, according to the warrant.

There was an internal investigation that began in October when many other employees discovered discrepancies in the financial records. The employee was fired in January and the findings were turned over to the District Attorney’s Office.

The attorney for the defendant claims she is innocent. Critical for the defense strategy in this case will be working to minimize the charges and penalties. The employee may be able to seek a favorable plea bargain, since she turned herself in

National attention is focused on white collar crimes because of the significant monetary losses to public entities and private citizens. In this case, the jury may be unsympathetic to a defendant who has admitted to stealing from a library, an institution that is already struggling financially.

The Advocate, “State library worker accused of stealing $109,000,” Naomi Martin, March 29, 2012.