Crime

Whatcom water association finds money missing from account but doesn’t need to look far

Here’s what the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office does

The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office enforces the law in the unincorporated areas of Whatcom County as well as on the county's waterways.
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The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office enforces the law in the unincorporated areas of Whatcom County as well as on the county's waterways.

The vice president of the Wahl Water Association is suspected of using the association’s debit card for 14 unauthorized transactions totaling more than $6,000.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, March 30, booked John Nicholas Murray, 34, into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of first-degree theft, and according to jail records, he was released on personal recognizance on Sunday.

According to the police probable cause statement provided to The Bellingham Herald by Chief Deputy Kevin Hester, the sheriff’s office was notified on March 1 of the possibility that funds had been stolen by the treasurer of the Wahl Water Association, which serves an unincorporated portion of the county northeast of Bellingham along Smith Road.

The treasurer reportedly told deputies that the association’s bank account showed three unauthorized purchases made at area retailers for $612.23 and 11 unauthorized ATM withdrawals for $5,455 between Jan. 15 and March 1.

Deputies learned that the three board members are each issued debit cards to the account, according to the report, and that all 14 transactions were made on Murray’s card. Eleven of the transactions had video showing Murray using the card, and the ATM withdrawals required his personal PIN number.

The association president and treasurer said there were no reasons for any of the transactions, the report said, and association shareholders voted to pursue charges against Murray.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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