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Clerk Pleads Guilty To Stealing $70K From La Habra

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(Credit: CBS)

(Credit: CBS)

SANTA ANA (CBS 2) — Officials report a former part-time municipal employee admitted Tuesday that she stole more than $70,000 while working for the city of La Habra.

Kimberly Lynn Duncan, 24, of Brea, pleaded guilty to misappropriation of public funds, forgery and second-degree commercial burglary, according to Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals offered Duncan a plea deal. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 9.

Duncan stole more than $25,600 in cash from the city’s community center while working there as a clerk from March 27 of last year through Sept. 8, 2009, Labreche said.

Duncan also failed to deposit another $24,000 in checks and $20,700 in credit card payments to the city treasurer, Labreche said, adding that money is still missing.

Duncan’s job was to take payments from residents for classes, trips, fees for weddings and other gatherings and deposit the funds, Labreche said.

Her scheme was discovered when a resident complained in August 2009 that a check had not been cashed, the prosecutor said.

Duncan stayed on the job for a brief period after the thefts were discovered, until officials could be sure she was the culprit.

Duncan got a copy of the official stamp from City Hall to help conceal the thefts and forged the initials of co-workers on checks, he said. She is expected to be sentenced to a year in jail and five years of formal probation.

Duncan has paid back $11,500 so far and could shave off half of her jail time and do community service instead if she pays back another $10,000 by her sentencing date, Labreche said.

“He (the judge) told her to plan on going into custody that day,” Labreche said.

He had offered Duncan a plea deal of five years of probation and a year in jail, but not the community service option.

“This had a profound impact on the city of La Habra,” the prosecutor said. “It’s a lot of money for the city.”

Not only did it hurt the city financially, it was a blow to the public trust, Labreche said.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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