Langley’s ex-harbormaster pleads guilty to theft

Langley’s ex-harbormaster Eric Lambour has pleaded guilty to second-degree theft charges.

Lambour’s guilty plea came just after Island County Prosecutor Josh Choate had filed a motion to amend the charge against the former city of Langley employee to first-degree theft.

However, the motion was never heard because Lambour pleaded guilty to the lesser charge on March 27, Choate said.

Sentencing is set for April 7. Lambour faces up to 60 days in jail for the second-degree felony theft charge. He has no criminal record.

A restitution hearing will be scheduled soon after the sentencing date. Choate said the hearing must take place within 180 days of the conviction.

Lambour was arrested last summer by the Island County Sheriff’s Office for stealing money from the cash fare box at the Langley marina. He was fired from his city job at the marina after his arrest on Aug. 24.

Lambour admitted to taking an estimated $400 to $700 in cash from the marina fees that were paid by boaters visiting the marina, according to court records.

However, Langley’s Clerk-Treasurer Debbie Mahler said the city estimated that Lambour actually took between $10,000 and $12,000 over time.

Mahler said city officials hope to see Lambour sentenced to jail time. They would also like to see some of the money returned.

“He will hopefully pay some restitution,” she said.

Lambour was caught after a sting operation by city officials connected him with disappearing marina funds.

It was part of Lambour’s job as harbormaster to collect the receipt envelopes and then transfer them to the clerk-treasurer’s office for accounting.

Mahler noticed a drop in the amount of money being submitted after Lambour took over as harbormaster, according to police reports.

After she noticed the drop in funds, city employees started tallying the marina receipts turned in by the harbormaster.

Mahler discovered that before Lambour was working as harbormaster, cash made up 56 percent of the fees collected from the marina, and the other 44 percent came from checks.

After Lambour began collecting the receipts, only 26 percent of receipts involved cash, and 74 percent came from checks.

The number of reported vessels at the marina also dropped under Lambour’s watch, even though other city employees did not notice a visible change.

City employees started a sting investigation and collected evidence against Lambour.

After his arrest, Lambour said he had taken $400 to $700 from the cash boxes, according to the police report. He told police he was going to use the money to enhance the efficiency and appearance of the marina, and that he was willing to provide restitution for the funds.

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