Warrant issued for alleged embezzler, former Island County economic development assistant

The former assistant director of the Island County Economic Development Council accused of embezzling is wanted on a $10,000 arrest warrant.

Prosecutors charged 58-year-old Sharleen Eller in Island County Superior Court last month with theft in the first degree. She’s accused of stealing more than $30,000 from the nonprofit organization.

Eller failed to appear at a March 4 hearing in Island County Superior Court. As a result, the judge issued a $10,000 warrant for her arrest.

Deputy Prosecutor David Carman said the last known address for Eller was a home in Coupeville, but she moved about two years ago. Investigators don’t know her current whereabouts.

The alleged theft took more than three years to investigate and went through several investigators over that time, according to Carman.

The alleged theft was discovered in September 2009 after Sharon Hart, at that time director of the EDC, hired an outside bookkeeping service. The bookkeeper found that Eller wrote extra payroll checks to herself, according to a report by Deputy Hodges Gowdey with the Coupeville Town Marshal’s Office.

In addition, the bookkeeper found that Eller didn’t pay taxes to the IRS, which was part of her job. Hart estimated the tax liability at $150,000, the report states.

Under the agency’s procedure, Eller would write checks for herself and Hart, and then would have them signed by an EDC board member. But on 20 occasions from 2003 to 2007, she wrote second checks to herself and asked different EDC board members to sign, Gowdley wrote.

The total amount of the theft was $32,000.

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