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Former Clallam sheriff's staffer charged in 2006 theft

Peninsula Daily News
BYLINE: Rob Ollikainen

Clallam County, PA

PORT ANGELES -- A former Clallam County Sheriff's Department evidence technician accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the evidence room in 2006 faces first-degree theft and money laundering charges.

Staci L. Allison, 38, now of Montesano -- who was fired in April 2007 after the State Patrol conducted a four-month investigation -- has been summoned to appear in Clallam County Superior Court through a document signed by a judge on May 29. She is scheduled to be arraigned on one count of first-degree theft and one count of money laundering at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

First-degree theft and money laundering are Class B felonies with maximum penalties of 10 years imprisonment and a $20,000 fine. Amount of alleged theft. Allison originally was accused of stealing $51,251.33. She faces charges of stealing $8,644.19.

"It's my belief that [$51,251.33] is what she stole, because that's what we're missing," said Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict on Saturday. "She's being charged with [stealing more than] $8,000 because that's what we think we can prove." Benedict pointed out that the penalty would be the same on a conviction for either amount.

"In cases like this, the money was not stolen at once. It was stolen on many different occasions and in small amounts," he said. "When you're prosecuting something like this, you go after what you can prove." Allison is accused of deleting 49 computer records from the sheriff's department evidence system on May 2006, court document say, adding that the deletions were made one day in advance of an audit. Eight of those 49 deletions involved money cases totaling $8,644.19. She faces charges on those cases.

Benedict said that his department, with help from the FBI and several financial experts who volunteered their services, took over the investigation after the State Patrol worked on it after Allison was arrested.

She was arrested on Dec. 21, 2006 on investigation of first-degree theft and released the next day. The Prosecuting Attorney's Office declined to file charges until an investigation was complete.

"The Sheriff's Department took about a year serving warrants on all her financial records," Benedict said. The joint FBI and sheriff's investigation into Allison's bank accounts showed cash deposits that "can not be explained by any known source of funds."

The financial review of her personal accounts showed an absence of transactions expected to be associated with Allison's three trips to South Korea in 2004 and 2005. The January investigation further revealed that Allison's resumption of payday loan activity, and the fact that she deleted the files the day before an audit, "would certainly suggest an effort on her part to conceal evidence of the missing money from the evidence room, as well as her recognition or concern that money missing from the evidence room could be discovered."

Allison, who was hired in April 2002, was placed on paid administrative leave in November 2006 after an internal audit discovered the missing money.

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