Craig woman accused of embezzlement |

Craig woman accused of embezzlement

Zach Fridell
Lori Wagner

— When more than $30,000 went missing from a local real estate agency in March 2008, the owner became suspicious and started looking into accounting practices.

On July 23, Steamboat Springs Police Department officers arrested Craig resident Lori Wagner, 27, on suspicion of Class 3 felony theft from Axis West Realty.

In the arrest warrant, Det. Jerry Stabile wrote that Wagner took advantage of a monthlong absence by the business owner, Evlyn Berge, to take $30,909.60 from trust security deposit and rent accounts by taking cash that was intended for rent. She reportedly later tried to cover the losses by transferring money from Special Places of Steamboat, a separate real estate company in the same offices and also owned by Berge.

Berge spent a month in California caring for her cancer-stricken mother, according to the warrant. When she began looking at her company’s finances, she found irregularities that prompted her to hire a CPA.

“Lori Wagner earned and received a position of trust within the Axis West Realty Company. Lori Wagner took advantage of the absence of Ms. Berge from the day-to-day oversight of Axis West Realty,” Stabile wrote.

Wagner reportedly quit her job with Axis Realty less than two months after Berge questioned her, according to the warrant.

After looking through the books, Berge, a CPA and a bookkeeper, identified three long-term rental accounts typically paid by cash.

The warrant states that Berge and Wagner were the only two people to have access to the accounts who could have accessed the money.

When reached by phone, Berge declined to comment for the story or say whether she has an attorney representing her. Stabile was out of the office and will not be back for several days. A working phone number could not be found for Wagner. A number under her name in the phone book was disconnected Thursday.

No attorney is entered in the case, and Wagner is next scheduled to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 18.

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