Montrose police arrested Traci Joan Younger, 28, on Aug. 16 on pending charges of two counts of Class 4 felony theft, and one count of Class 3 felony theft.
According to the arrest affidavit, Detective Michelle Farmer began her investigation in the case in April and learned that the owner of My Bookie, Patricia Anders, reported that she fired Traci Younger after catching her writing checks to GT Mechanical from the account of Godbe Drilling LLC, one of My Bookie’s clients. My Bookie provides bookkeeping and business accounts for area businesses, Anders said.
The detective noted in her report that Younger had worked for My Bookie for 13 years, and was a co-signer for Godbe Drilling’s checks.
“Part of Traci’s responsibilities when she worked for My Bookie was to make payments on behalf of Godbe Drilling LLC to their vendors,” Farmer wrote. “Thus, Traci had access to their checks and often signed and wrote checks for them as a legitimate co-signer.”
But Anders discovered that five checks written by Younger had been coded to five different vendors in QuickBooks, her business software, while the physical checks were “actually written to and paid out to GT Mechanical, a business belonging to both Traci and her husband, Gary Younger, rather than to the vendors shown on QuickBooks,” the court document states.
Anders said Godbe Drilling and GT Mechanical had “many legitimate transactions in the past,” according to Farmer’s report, but these five transactions “seemed strange.”
Anders’ next step was to obtain bank copies of the checks in question, which amounted to $24,038.49. All showed a money trail leading to GT Mechanical.
For example, Godbe’s check number 7901 for $11,900, dated Dec. 4 2009, was supposedly paid to Western Mud Service in Silver City, New Mexico, but according to the QuickBooks entry, the physical check was written to GT Mechanical.
All the checks were signed by Younger and written out of the Godbe Drilling account.
After discovering the thefts, Anders said she confronted Younger, who admitted writing the checks to GT Mechanical.
Anders first became alerted that something was wrong after getting a call from John Godbe, the owner of Godbe Drilling. Godbe told her that an agent of the Internal Revenue Service had followed him to Younger’s house, where she did his bookkeeping from her home office.
The IRS agent informed Godbe that his company was behind on its payroll taxes. Younger denied this, but her records were found to be incomplete.
Anders told investigators that she realized that the Godbe Drilling account had not been reconciled, “which was concerning to her.” Younger had handled the Godbe account for five or six years, Anders said, and it was the only one of her accounts on which she was a co-signer.
When Anders confronted Younger at her home, she said she would repay the theft, but Godbe Drilling’s owners have pressed for criminal prosecution.
Anders told police that in addition to the money taken from the Godbe account, her company owes overdue payroll taxes because of Younger’s handling of the account. She said so far she has discovered $27,000 in late fees owed to the IRS, and is awaiting final IRS transcripts for the total amount.
Anders told authorities the five checks are the only ones she is aware of that were misused, and she doesn’t suspect that any other accounts were compromised.
In the course of her investigation, Farmer got court orders for all bank accounts of GT Mechanical at three area banks. The records confirmed that the five checks Younger wrote were deposited in GT Mechanical accounts.
Shortly afterward, in July, Farmer met with Anders and John Godbe, along with two members of his family.
Anders revealed an apologetic email she had received from Younger on March 10, which Younger had asked be sent to John Godbe “if you think it’s appropriate.”
It reads, in part, “I never thought I would be writing a letter of apology for something so terrible as what I’ve done to you and your family. I have no excuses. It was done out of fear of honesty and desperation. You and your family were always like a second family to me and I can’t believe the amount of disappointment and anger you all must have. Again I’m sorry I caused it…I will do anything I need to pay you back and try to make amends. I can never apologize enough to help but know I am so truly sorry.”
Her plea apparently did not sway the owners of Godbe Drilling LLC to refrain from pressing criminal charges, according to the arrest affidavit.
Younger was released from Montrose County jail after posting bond of $6,000, which was reduced from the original bond of $50,000.