is jailed in alleged benefits fraud
...TILLAMOOK , Susan Close was in the Tillamook County Jail early this week in connection with new criminal charges alleging that she fraudulently obtained state unemployment benefits while she was employed by the Tillamook County Soil and Water Conservation District.Close
, 52, is accused of 30 counts of second-degree theft and one count of unlawfully obtaining public assistance.
In February, Close
, a former Rockaway Beach resident, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Portland to charges of embezzling federal funds from the Soil and Water District.She
is scheduled to be sentenced June 8 in that case.
According to authorities, Close
applied for and received unemployment compensation checks 30 times between Oct. 26, 2004, and June 14, 2005.A spokesman for the State Employment Department
said last week the checks she
received totaled $11,341.Close left her job as office manager with the Soil and Water District June 13, 2005, as the embezzlement scheme, involving federal funds for water quality and other conservation projects and a district credit card, began to unravel.
The latest charges against Close
were contained in an indictment handed up by the Tillamook County Grand Jury April 6.A warrant was issued for her
arrest the same day.Tillamook County Sheriff Todd Anderson said it took several days to locate Close.
Anderson said Close
turned herself in to authorities last Wednesday, April 12, and was booked into the jail.
In the plea bargain arrangement in that case, Close
pleaded to one of five counts in a federal indictment charging her
with embezzling $71,256.50 from Soil and Water District
in 2004.The entire indictment alleged that, between 2001 and 2005, Close
stole $268,000 from the district by ordering personal items on a Soil and Water District
American Express card she
was authorized to use, writing checks on the agency's bank accounts to pay the bills and lying to board members about the district's financial condition.
The federal case was Close's
second conviction on embezzlement charges.In 1990, she
pleaded guilty to charges of stealing $34,135.48 from the Salem accounting firm of Aldrich Kilbride & Tatone
also has on her
record a conviction on a misdemeanor charge of shoplifting in Multnomah County.