Former Office Manager Accused Of Embezzling $673,544.17
(Stillwater, Okla.) – In what may be the largest case of its type ever filed in Payne County, a former office manager of High Country Utilities Inc. (HCU) has been charged with embezzling $673,544.17 during a six and one-half year period from the company located south of Perkins.
Kimberly Kay Turnham, 51, of Perkins, who was arraigned this week, remains free on $10,000 bail pending an April 2 court appearance at which she can seek a preliminary hearing on the felony charge punishable by a maximum penalty of a 10-year prison term and a $10,000 fine on conviction.
Asked how long Turnham was employed by HCU, Payne County Sheriff’s Investigator Rockford Brown said, “She started August 30th 2001 and was terminated on December 11th 2017.”
Regarding her salary, the sheriff’s investigator told KUSH, “She was paid $90,000.00 a year, not including her insurance and retirement that were paid by her employer.”
On Dec. 11, 2017, the investigator made contact with David Lloyd, the company’s vice-president, who said “that he and his wife, Shari Lloyd, who is the HCU president, discovered unauthorized credit card statements on the company card that was issued to Kim Turnham,” Brown’s affidavit alleged.
“Both Shari and David are the sole personnel responsible for authorizing purchases made by employees,” according to the affidavit.
“After further review, the Lloyds found that Turnham had several credit cards belonging to Turnham, and that were being paid for through the HCU checking account; these checks were signed by Turnham,” the affidavit alleged.
“The Lloyds found several HCU checks that Turnham had written to cover personal items, and again were not authorized by the Lloyds to purchase,” the affidavit alleged.
After receiving the information, the investigator said, “I met with Kim inside her home and told her that there was ‘significant illegal use of company funds…and I was hoping to get her…take on things.’”
“Kim responded by saying ‘it’s exactly what it is,’ and then later stating ‘It started when my husband wasn’t working.’ Kim then spoke with her attorney and ceased cooperating with my investigation,” Brown alleged in his affidavit.
During a forensic accounting of HCU, “it was determined that the total embezzled by Kim Turnham was $673,544.17,” the affidavit alleged.
“Turnham embezzled the money through three different methods: 1) unauthorized use of her company-issued credit card 2) improper payments from the HCU checking account to pay for personal credit cards 3) improper payments directly to unauthorized vendors and to Turnham herself, all for the benefit of herself,” the investigator alleged in his affidavit.
Among the purchases Turnham made on the HCU company card was $4,174.85 on Feb. 13, 2017, for Lady Gaga tickets, the affidavit alleged.
Among the improper payments from the HCU checking account to pay for personal credit cards was $8,290.20 on Nov. 16, 2017, to Chase Card Member Services, the affidavit alleged.
Among the improper payments to vendors and Turnham were a $3,000 “bonus” check to Turnham on Jan. 30, 2012, and a $3,177.88 check to Turnham on Jan. 30, 2017, the affidavit alleged.
The affidavit alleged that HCU’s money totaling $673,544.17 was spent by Turnham – with $223,788.27 to Chase, $217,006.48 to Capital One, $127,999.14 on the HCU company credit card, $79,232.28 on HCU company checks, $14,467.74 to Best Buy, $8,660.28 to Lowe’s, and $2,389.98 Auto Transfer.
The amount of $673,544.17 was allegedly embezzled by Turnham – with $2,842.30 in 2011, $13,645.24 in 2012, $18,024.26 in 2013, $52,517.37 in 2014, $149,321.60 in 2015, $209,804.17 in 2016, and $227,389.24 in 2017, according to the investigator’s affidavit.
“Kim Turnham made all alleged purchases without the knowledge or authorization from either Shari or David Lloyd, who held sole authorization power over company purchases,” the investigator alleged in his affidavit.