Former bookkeeper charged with stealing $57,000 from Olympia chiropractor

Staff writerJuly 5, 2013 

A 26-year-old former bookkeeper at Sloan Family Chiropractic in Olympia was charged with 86 crimes related to allegations she stole more than $57,000 from her former employers.

The former bookkeeper, Brooke Wood, is charged with 52 counts of forgery, 32 counts of second-degree theft, one count of first-degree theft and one count of first-degree identity theft. Her arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday in Thurston County Superior Court.

Sloan Family Chiropractic was closed for the holiday Friday, and no one there could be reached for comment.

According to Wood’s charging documents filed Monday:

After Wood was hired as a receptionist in 2006, her job duties were gradually expanded to include keeping the accounting records, completing the medical billing from insurance companies and general bookkeeping. She also had direct access to the business’s Heritage Bank checking account.

She was considered a family friend of the Sloans.

In April 2012, co-owner David Sloan learned the computer program used for office billing, so he could do some of the bookkeeping work himself. As he reviewed some of the bookkeeping for several months, he noticed several unexplained discrepancies where payments were made to a Chase credit card. When Sloan’s wife called Chase to find out whose credit card was being paid by their business, they learned that the credit card number belonged to Wood. Documents showed at least five unauthorized payments by Sloan Family Chiropractic to Wood’s credit card.

Sloan subsequently reported to the Olympia Police Department that Wood had been stealing money from the business. During detective Bryan Houser’s investigation, he audited the office’s financial records and discovered that Wood had been forging insurance and customer payment checks. Wood did this by forging David Sloan’s signature on checks from various insurance companies and depositing them directly into her own personal account.

Houser also discovered that Wood was stealing from the business by using its online bank account to pay her personal bills. Furthermore, Houser found that Wood was altering her paychecks so that she was paid a higher dollar amount than what she actually earned.

A review of the office’s financial records also showed a total of more than $15,000 in cash shortages from June 2009 to April 2012.

When Houser interviewed Wood, she admitted to taking money from the business in order to pay for her bills, “which had been taken to collections.” Wood also admitted to taking insurance checks by forging David Sloan’s signature. However, she denied taking any petty cash and altering the bookkeeping on the accounting software to hide her thefts.

Houser estimated that Wood stole approximately $57,071.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445
jpawloski@theolympian.com

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