Woman pleads guilty to stealing from nonprofit group
A former employee of the Tahoe Rim Trail group pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking more than $5,000 from the nonprofit organization.
Kari Daniels, 31, of South Lake Tahoe, turned herself in July 7 and was booked on a charge of theft, a category B felony which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in a Nevada state prison.
Daniels sentencing in Douglas County District Court is set for Aug. 18. Deputy District Attorney Alan Buttell said he wouldn’t oppose a defense argument for probation for Daniels, but said it would be up to the judge.
Charges were filed against Daniels after Lynda McDowell, executive director and the only other paid employee of the Tahoe Rim Trail group, discovered a forgery of the group’s business checks.
The theft began in the last week of March, right after McDowell took an extended leave for family reasons, investigators said. Daniels was hired as office manager in December 1997.
McDowell said she has all bank statements sent to her home and when she returned she found extra payroll checks for Daniels on the statements.
Formed in 1981, the nonprofit organization is dedicated to completing a 150-mile multipurpose trail around Lake Tahoe. It overlaps the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail for 50 miles along the West Shore. At the beginning of June, McDowell said there were approximately 12 miles left to complete the circuit.
McDowell was out of the office Tuesday afternoon and unavailable for comment. After the discovery she said the loss of $5,000 was significant for a group that relies on donations and volunteers.
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