Employee charged with stealing $62K from Steamboat marijuana dispensary by fibbing on his time cards
February 6, 2019
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A former employee at a marijuana dispensary in Steamboat was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stealing more than $62,000 by fabricating the hours on his time cards.
Steamboat Springs Police officers arrested Jeffrey Wanserski on three felony charges including computer crime, theft and criminal impersonation, according to an arrest affidavit.
The affidavit stated that during a period of almost three years, from January 2016 to October 2018, Wanserski continuously added hours to his time card that he did not work. He may have also impersonated other employees to infiltrate the company’s time card software.
Golden Leaf Anderson, owner of the Golden Leaf dispensary, discovered a discrepancy in Wanserski’s hours in October 2018 and reported the incident to the police.
“We fired him as soon as we found out,” Anderson said.
He never suspected that Wanserski, a person he trusted, would steal from the business.
"I was absolutely surprised," Anderson said. "He was also a friend."
Anderson told officers he had video surveillance showing when Wanserski arrived at work and when he left. Those times did not coincide with the hours that Wanserski logged on his time card.
Golden Leaf uses a computer software program to track employee hours. In the past, employees could use a code to access the system and submit hours on their own.
After issues arose with employees altering their time cards, Anderson changed the company policy so that only certain managerial staff were allowed to access the system.
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Despite the new policy, Anderson suspects that Wanserski continued to use the code to access the system and alter his time card. Wanserski may have also used other staff member's login information to access the system and add hours to his paycheck without their knowledge, according to the affidavit.
Anderson said that Wanserski would regularly log a small amount of extra hours that he did not work. That is why managers did not immediately notice an issue. Over time, the fraudulent hours, as well as the boosted paychecks, added up.
"It was a slow drip drawn out over three years," Anderson said.
Anderson's attorney Emily Kelley estimates Wanserski inflated his paycheck by a total of $62,770 over a three-year period, according to the affidavit. That total does not include payroll tax.
Officers tried to meet with Wanserski in December to discuss the incident, but he said that he did not have enough time to do so. The affidavit states that during one call with an officer, Wanserski said he was “too busy to talk about this crap.”
Anderson has filed a lawsuit against Wanserski in the hopes that he can gain restitution on the stolen money.
"We think that's our only chance of being reimbursed," Anderson said.
He added that in the future, managers at Golden Leaf will more frequently monitor the time card system and ensure limitations on who can access it.
For now, Anderson is relieved law enforcement has taken action.
"I'm just happy he got caught," he said. "It's unfortunate that this happens these days."