RAYMOND — The Chinook Observer has received additional details regarding the former Crisis Support Network director who allegedly took at least $47,000 of the nonprofit’s funds.
Burr, CSN’s executive director from May 2014 to October 2018, faces numerous charges relating to theft, forgery, and obtaining signatures by deception. She allegedly used at least $47,000 of CSN’s funds for personal use. CSN serves victims of domestic and sexual violence.
In Washington state, the maximum sentence for theft in the first degree is 10 years in jail, a fine of $20,000, or both. Obtaining a signature by deception and forgery can each result in up to five years in jail, a $10,000 fine, or both. Burr faces one count of theft in the first degree, 12 counts of obtaining a signature by deception and 12 counts of forgery.
Burr was arrested by Raymond Police Department on March 23. Her alleged crimes were reported on Nov. 26 by CSN Board Chair Karla Webber.
In October 2018, the CSN Board learned Burr had spent $15,000 on personal gambling by using CSN’s credit cards without authorization. She agreed to pay the money back to CSN and did so, by borrowing money from her mother, according to the RPD investigation.
Burr was asked to either resign or be fired. She submitted a letter of resignation on Oct. 30, 2018. At the time, Burr said CSN didn’t have any other reasons to be concerned about the nonprofit’s finances, according to Webber’s report. The next month, a scheduled audit of CSN revealed an additional $32,855 was stolen from CSN by Burr, according to the RPD investigation.
Aiken and Sanders Inc. regularly does CSN’s audits. In March 2018, Burr notified the company she would be taking over CSN’s finances because she fired CSN’s finance director Joy Martin for confidentiality breaches, according to the RPD investigation.
The audit revealed Burr would print off checks with no addressee, then get a board member to sign off on the check. She would then hand-write her own name on the checks, then make fake invoices for where the checks went. Of 15 checks investigated, 12 were signed off by CSN board members including Alicia Meyer, Princess Klus and Wendy Dickey, who face no allegations of wrongdoing.
The 15 checks make up $28,055 of the $32,000. The remaining money was taken through $4,800 worth of healthcare reimbursements. CSN employees are only allowed to be reimbursed for healthcare services up to $1,800 per year.
The fake check invoices list companies such as Walmart and Overstock, individuals and local organizations such as Ilwaco-based Blue Crab Graphics. The checks were all issued between March and June in 2018.
‘This is a lot to take in’
During an interview with RPD deputy Micah Ristow, Burr admitted to using CSN’s credit card for $15,000 worth of gambling.
Since her resignation, Burr had started seeking treatment at Balanced Perspectives Counseling in Tumwater, according to the interview.
As the interview went on, Burr said she was going to be accountable and was willing to provide a written statement. However, she later changed her mind and didn’t provide a statement, according to the RPD report.
During the interview, she didn’t admit to taking the additional $32,000 from CSN.
“Burr said this is quite a haze and is hard for her to even accept,” Ristow said in his report. “She said she is still working on that with her counselor [and] it has been difficult to accept that she even got herself into this situation.”
When explaining why she used CSN’s funds for personal use, Burr said she has always had an addictive personality and tried to use it for good but stress got to her, according to the report.
“She took a deep breath and exhaled, was quiet for about 10 seconds, then said ‘That’s a little overwhelming… This is a lot to take in,’” Ristow said in his report.
When asked about the $32,000 in checks written out to Burr and the health reimbursements, Burr had trouble remembering the details of the checks and reimbursements, according to the report.
“I asked about any other checks than HRA,” reads Ristow’s report. “She said ‘Honestly, that’s a haze. There could have been.’”
Before being booked into jail, Burr asked if she could smoke a cigarette and call her sister, which was allowed. On March 27, Burr was released on a $10,000 bond. Her case is being handled by Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.