Homer Police last week charged an Anchor Point woman with first-degree theft for taking $95,794 from her ex-boss, Matt Shadle. Police alleged that over 18 months Terry D. McCloud, 44, embezzled $29,340 in forged checks and $66,454 in unauthorized credit card transactions.
A former Homer City Council member, Shadle owns several companies, including a fishing business, a rental business and a Christmas tree business. McCloud worked as a bookkeeper for him from September 2010 to April 2012. Shadle said he found out about the embezzlement in April when McCloud confessed to him. Shadle told her she should go to the police and turn herself in. Homer Police Chief Mark Robl confirmed that McCloud came to police. It took until now to charge her because of the complexity of the case, Robl said. As of Tuesday, Robl said McCloud had not yet been arrested.
In charging documents, Homer Police Officer Ryan Browning wrote that McCloud made 466 transactions on business credit cards in Shadle's name. Browning interviewed McCloud and said she admitted forging checks and using credit cards without Shadle's consent or knowledge. McCloud said she was angry at Shadle for degrading her during her employment and not treating her well, Browning wrote. McCloud didn't know what she did with the cash and Browning said she didn't have any bank accounts.
Shadle said he paid McCloud on time and thought she was happy in her job.
"When something like this happens, you just really scratch your head and wonder why," he said.
Shadle said McCloud wasn't a signer on any checking accounts and wasn't authorized to use any credit cards. He said it appeared McCloud used a dormant bank account to deposit money into without Shadle's knowledge. He didn't know how she set up a credit card account in his name.
McCloud was pretty much in control of Shadle's accounts, Robl said.
"He put a lot of trust in her and she violated that trust," Robl said.
"I think this is a classic case where you should never put too much trust in one employee. Whatever your system is, it's got to have checks and balances so that somebody is checking someone else's work, especially when it comes to handling large amounts of money."
Shadle said he travels a lot and had been out of town and wasn't watching his mail.
"The lesson learned is, when you're in business, and you own the business, you should always open up your own mail, and you should keep a tight rope and a good pair of eyes on every credit card statement," Shadle said.
This article originally appeared in Homer News, and is reprinted here with permission. Michael Armstrong can be reached at email@example.com.