Bookkeeper accused of embezzling more than $180,000 from La Fiamma in Bellingham

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMarch 7, 2014 

La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza

Police say a bookkeeper at La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza embezzled more than $180,000 from the company since 2010.

MATT MCDONALD — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

BELLINGHAM - Police say a bookkeeper at La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza embezzled more than $180,000 from the company since 2010.

Jonathan Emil Berry turned himself in to police on Wednesday, March 5, after police told Berry's lawyer they had probable cause to arrest him, said police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.

Owners of La Fiamma contacted Bellingham police when they received a bill for a company credit card, Vander Yacht said. La Fiamma doesn't have a company credit card. After reviewing statements on the card, restaurant owners Ken Bothman and Dan Bothman found a bill to a home of one of their employees.

"That's what got him caught," Vander Yacht said. "And he's been at this for a while."

La Fiamma owners reviewed their finances from the past few years and found periodic withdrawals by forged checks of around $10,000 each time, Vander Yacht said. Ken and Dan Bothman own La Fiamma Pizza on Chestnut Street and Fiamma Burger on Railroad Avenue.

Police booked Berry into jail at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday on suspicion of first-degree theft, second-degree identity theft, and forgery.

Ken Bothman said it had been a trying and learning time for the business, but it would not affect customers and the business would proceed as usual. He said they have full faith in the police and prosecutors and are leaving it in their hands.

He declined to give more details about the alleged theft or what changes the Bothmans have made.

"We're working our way through it," he said, "and we look forward to making good burgers and pizza."

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

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