Local woman arrested for allegedly stealing $240,000 from employer
An Idaho Falls woman was charged with multiple felonies after she allegedly defrauded her employer for $241,716.
Sarah Elizabeth Kjar, 23, was an accountant for Castlerock Homes, a local house construction company. According to the probable cause affidavit, the company fired Kjar in October after discovering she had sent checks unrelated to business to her personal bank account.
The company contacted the Idaho Falls Police Department in October. The Police Department advised them to have an accountant complete a forensic audit.
The audit found Kjar had sent $131,376 in checks to herself and had used the company’s credit card for $96,645 in personal expenses, authorities said.
Kjar began working at Castlerock on June 10, 2017. Police said they found that the first fraudulent payment was on August 9, 2017.
Joshua Higley, the owner of Castlerock Homes, said he received a call in October from vendors asking when they were going to be paid. Higley thought they already had been paid and checked the company’s accounts.
Higley learned Kjar had not been paying the vendors and had instead sent checks to herself and a man named Ryan Nelson. Kjar told Higley she did not know Nelson. According to ICourt Portal, Kjar and Nelson were married until Nelson filed for divorce in November, one month after Kjar was fired.
Nelson and Higley both told police Nelson never worked for or met Higley. Nelson has not been charged in relation to the investigation.
Higley told police he confronted Kjar with the evidence of her fraud. He said Kjar told him she was a “trust fund baby,” and that she would pay him back. Higley said he found several checks with his signature forged, while others had a company stamp that Kjar was not supposed to have access to.
The fraudulent checks stopped after Kjar was fired. According to Higley, she was the only employee besides himself who had access to the company’s Quickbooks account.
The forensic audit found that the checks made to Kjar and Nelson were deleted or voided from the Quickbooks account minutes after they were electronically filed.
Kjar was charged with two counts of grand theft and two counts of forgery, all punishable with up to 14 years in prison each. She was released from prison recently after posting a $150,000 bond.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on May 1 in the Bonneville County Courthouse.