Criminal charges for LeBan |

Criminal charges for LeBan

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Embezzlement charges were filed Wednesday against Terry LeBan, the former executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.

If convicted, the Gardnerville woman faces a maximum of three years of jail and up to $10,000 in fines on two counts of grand theft. The restitution phase could take months.

“We suspect we’ll be working on this for a long time,” said Hans Uthe, El Dorado County assistant district attorney.

The investigation, led by the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, surmised that LeBan, 52, and the LTVA’s former controller Debra Kirk, 49, “used (more than) $70,000 of LTVA funds for their personal use” between February 2000 and November 2001.

The lake’s largest tourism agency operates on a $3-million budget derived mainly from public funds.

The probe started in December, the same month LeBan resigned for “physical and mental” disabilities. In November, she was seriously injured as a passenger in a car crash off Kingsbury Grade that killed Kirk.

A series of audits found the two Carson Valley women allegedly forged checks, took cash advances at casinos in Stateline and Reno, misreported payroll reimbursements and misused agency credit cards.

The audits ordered by the board of directors found $86,197 was misappropriated. Bank refunds and other credits reduced the net loss to $73,786.

LTVA Attorney George Echan expects the loss to be covered by insurance claims. But legal and accounting fees have mounted to $28,000, with no way of recovering the loss.

Echan will begin filing a civil complaint against LeBan next week, he said Wednesday. The LTVA board decided to seek restitution two weeks ago in its monthly board meeting.

LeBan could not be reached for comment.

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