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Oak Harbor attorney accused of stealing from WAIF donor
Alleged theft and money laundering by a former Oak Harbor attorney resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars for Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation, according to the president of the nonprofit group’s board.
Douglas Saar, 40, formerly of the Law Office of Skinner and Saar, is accused of stealing from estates he represented, including one that named Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation, commonly known as WAIF, as the sole beneficiary.
Saar pleaded not guilty in Island County Superior Court Monday to four counts of theft in the first degree, one count of theft in the second degree and nine counts of money laundering.
Both Superior Court judges recused themselves, so a judge from Skagit County Superior Court appeared telephonically.
Whidbey resident Jean Froman bequeathed her estate to WAIF, which runs animal shelters for Island County and the city of Oak Harbor. The estimated value was $550,000, according to Bob Rupp, the president of the volunteer board.
Rupp estimates that WAIF will end up receiving about $140,000 of the money, due to the alleged thefts and the fees owed to new attorneys who are settling the estate complicated by Saar’s alleged actions.
Saar allegedly took about $180,000 from the Froman estate, according to Rupp and Cindy Wilbert, the treasurer for WAIF.
Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks confirmed that WAIF was the beneficiary of the Froman estate, but he didn’t know the exact amount of the suspected theft or the loss.
Rupp said it’s not uncommon for people to give part or all of their estates to WAIF. But the Froman estate was especially large and would have come at an opportune time.
“It would have been very helpful because we’re building a new shelter,” he said. “The $3.8-million facility will be a blessing to the entire community.”
Last summer, Saar pleaded guilty in San Juan Superior Court to stealing nearly $100,000 from the Wilson Trust. He was sentenced to 30 days of electronic home detention and 240 hours of community restitution.