Former coalition director arrested

Court documents show embezzled funds could total more than $30,000

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The District Attorney's office formally filed charges today against a Craig resident suspected of embezzling funds from two local non-profit organizations.

Robin M. McKenzie, 36, the former executive director of the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition, allegedly embezzled funds from the coalition and Moffat County Partners.

Court documents report that initial estimates from the coalition show the organization is missing "at least $32,000 from the coalition account over the last 20 months."

Court documents allege that between June 1, 2000, and March 28, 2002, McKenzie appropriated funds from the dental coalition and Partners for personal use.

Police executed two search warrants related to the investigation Tuesday to seize all of McKenzie's personal financial records. The department searched McKenzie's residence on Yampa Avenue.

The warrants also cover a billing statement from "Spiegel, Eddie Bauer, Newport News Charge" that is addressed to McKenzie.

She is charged with a felony count and a misdemeanor count of theft. The third-degree felony charge alleges McKenzie stole $15,000 or more from the coalition. The misdemeanor charge alleges she stole more than $100 but less than $500 from Partners.

A class 3 felony is punishable by a sentence of up to 12 years and a fine of up to $750,000. If the charge is listed as aggravated, the sentence could be as high as 24 years.

McKenzie first became executive director of the coalition in 2000, when the program became an independent non-profit organization. The Craig office of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association in 1997 organized the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition.

The pattern of theft allegedly continued after McKenzie left the coalition and joined Partners. Documents show that McKenzie never made two cash deposits for Partners of $92 and $62 even though she recorded them as deposited. McKenzie also allegedly collected three cash donations of $100, $17 and $75 for the Partners' Easter Egg Campaign that were never deposited. McKenzie also allegedly attempted a wire transfer from Partners' bank account to cover a bill for the coalition. Both organizations have their bank accounts at the Bank of Colorado.

According to court documents, McKenzie wrote in the account number of Partners' account at the Bank of Colorado in a wire transfer form for $9,003 on March 27. The money was owed by the coalition to Kids In Need of Dentistry, a non-profit organization based in Denver that organizes the Miles for Smiles van, a mobile dental clinic.

According to Craig Police Sgt. Bill Leonard, McKenzie was attempting to get the money wired before 2:30 p.m. that day. She filled out the form with Partners' bank account number instead of the dental coalition's account number, had coalition co-president Cheryl Ivy sign it, and faxed the form over to the Bank of Colorado.

"The bank called and said Cheryl was not authorized for that account, and Cheryl said she was on her way over to straighten it out," Leonard said. "I'm not sure what the conversation was, but when she got there the money had already been wired. That's when it was discovered that the account number was wrong, and that the coalition's account was at zero."

The allegations against McKenzie were then brought to the police by two coalition board members. The Bank of Colorado is consulting with both non-profits to deal with the incident.

"We're working closely with both organizations to resolve the issue as quickly as possible," Bank of Colorado Manager Mark Harmon said. "We support both organizations, and we're doing everything we can to help."

McKenzie is scheduled to appear in court today for an advisement hearing. She is being held at the Moffat County Public Safety Center jail on a $20,000 bond.

Partners is a youth mentoring program that has been operating in Craig since 1998. The dental coalition acts as a clearing house for children and adults who cannot afford dental insurance.

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