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Kingston woman accused of embezzling thousands from Bainbridge Island apartment complex
A Kingston woman is being accused of embezzling thousands of dollars while working as a bookkeeper for a Bainbridge Island apartment complex.
Karen Schwarz, 53, was charged in Kitsap County Superior Court last week for first-degree theft after it was discovered she allegedly diverted money from the Camellia Loop Apartments and into a secret bank account she had set up.
The Bainbridge Island Police Department was contacted in July by the owner of the Camillia Loop Apartments, who claimed Schwarz, his bookkeeper, had embezzled several thousand dollars.
The property owner discovered the theft when a late notice was sent to a tenant about a rent payment. The tenant, however, provided a copy of the check that had been paid and cashed.
The property owner then discovered the check had been deposited into an account that was using the name Madrona Enterprises Group, a company that was registered in Oregon but owned by his bookkeeper.
The property owner said his business, the Madrona Group, had not given the bookkeeper permission to deposit checks into the account for the Madrona Enterprises Group.
Police investigated and found that Schwarz had set up the account and was listed as the firm's registered agent in August 2011.
Investigators said they found 46 checks made out to the Madrona Group that were deposited into Schwarz' account at Key Bank.
The deposits — totaling more than $30,700 — were made between August 2011 and May 2012.
Police also found that Schwarz had an extensive history of criminal convictions in Oregon.
According to court records, Schwarz was arrested for forgery and first-degree theft in December 1991 by the Washington County Sheriff's Office and was later convicted on first degree aggravated theft and forgery charges.
She was arrested earlier that year, in June, on six counts of first-degree theft by the Yamhill County Sheriff's Department; and in September, on four counts of first-degree aggravated theft and forgery by the McMinnville Police Department.
Court documents indicate Schwarz was investigated by the McMinnville Police Department for stealing four company checks, forging signatures and cashing the checks, which totaled $13,841.