Steamboat business claims employee stole more than $10,000 for psychic hotlines
Steamboat Springs — Embezzlement charges against a Steamboat Springs woman include an accusation that she spent more than $10,000 of her employer’s money on psychic hotlines.
Jamie Hart has been charged with two counts of felony theft and two counts of unauthorized use of a financial device. She was released from custody after posting a $20,000 bond.
Hart is being represented by attorney Larry Combs. Combs said Thursday that Hart did not take anything without the permission, knowledge or consent of her former employer, Johnson Excavation.
“The work situation turned badly, and reimbursement was requested,” Combs said.
Hart worked as a bookkeeper and office manager at the business. A Steamboat Police Department detective was assigned the case in October 2014 after a complaint was made by Chad Johnson, vice president of Johnson Excavation.
Johnson had concerns about Hart and hired another bookkeeper to look at the company’s books. According to an arrest warrant, the bookkeeper found serious problems, including more than $10,000 that had been used to pay for psychic hotlines.
Johnson told police that he and his father had to forgo paychecks because of the theft.
According to the arrest warrant, Hart made more than $7,000 in non-business charges on a company debit card. A number of the charges were for an online psychic hotline.
“Chad had never permitted anyone in the company to pay for psychic readings, especially on company time with company finances,” the warrant states.
After Hart was fired, Johnson found an email from a psychic hotline addressed to Hart on Hart’s company email, the warrant states.
Combs said his client denies making the calls.
“The calls came from the business, but it wasn’t her calls,” Combs said.
According to the warrant, another $8,694 in non-business charges appeared on another company debit card. There were more charges for psychic readings, and Johnson believed Hart was using the card to pay her personal cell phone bill.
Johnson denied using psychic services, and he discovered a $349 charge on his bank card for psychic services. Johnson believed Hart used his card information, according to the warrant.
“There was no documentation within Johnson Excavating records indicating the use of psychics prior to Jamie being employed or after Jamie was terminated,” the warrant states.
Hart was an authorized check signer for the company. According to the warrant, police believe Hart used company checks and counter checks to make cash withdrawals, and the cash was not used for business expenses. Non-business expenses added up to $23,098.
According to the warrant, Hart is also suspected of making an unauthorized $50 ATM withdrawal and spending $720.79 more than allowed for gas.
According to Combs, Hart’s work environment was “strange,” and he thought the case would be resolved by a jury.
Hart is due back in court at 2 p.m. June 2.
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