Bellingham auto dealership worker sentenced to prison for stealing money

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 27, 2014 

BELLINGHAM - A former payroll manager at a Bellingham auto dealership will serve a three-year prison sentence for embezzling nearly $73,000 from the company.

Diane Maureen Graff, 62, of Mount Vernon, embezzled the money from Roger Jobs Motors, an auto dealership where Graff worked for 15 years. Graff pleaded guilty on Dec. 19, 2013, to one count of first-degree theft and eight counts of second-degree theft.

Graff started at Roger Jobs Motors in 1997. In August 2012, an audit by Wells Fargo Bank discovered she had been writing several bogus checks to herself from the company, the largest of which was $6,000. This was just one in a series of bogus checks signed by Graff between 2010 and 2012. She then tried to cover her tracks by transferring more than $20,000 from the company's 401(k) account, according to charging papers filed in Whatcom County Superior Court.

Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran tried to get Graff to pay back the stolen money. Federal taxes and fines pushed the amount Roger Jobs lost to more than $248,000. When Graff could pay only about $16,000, Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder imposed the prison sentence, McEachran said.

"We try to get as much as we can for the victims of crimes like this," McEachran said. "But we're glad to have this whole case behind us."

Graff will be obligated to make payments on the restitution following her release.

Reach James Kozanitis at 360-715-2249 or james.kozanitis@bellinghamherald.com.

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