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JUST IN: Two Charged With Embezzling from Elementary School PTA

Two women have been arrested and charged with embezzling thousands of dollars from an elementary school PTA.

Police say Latasha Bigsby and Tanya Jones each embezzled “several thousand dollars” from the Hoffman-Boston Elementary School PTA in separate, unconnected incidents.

Both are charged with felony embezzlement, while Jones also faces a charge related to document forgery.

Bigsby stole from the PTA between 2007 and 2008, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. She was arrested Sept. 28 and has cooperated with investigators, police noted.

Bigsby was working as an administrative assistant at Hoffman-Boston, which is located in the Arlington View neighborhood along Columbia Pike. She is no longer an Arlington Public Schools employee, Assistant Superintendent Linda Erdos told ARLnow.com.

Jones was the treasurer of the Hoffman-Boston PTA, according to school documents. She’s accused of embezzling funds between 2012 and 2014. Charges against Jones stemmed from the investigation into Bigsby, police said.

Jones turned herself in to police today. An attorney for Bigsby did not respond to a request for comment.

A conviction on felony embezzlement charges is punishable by one to 20 years in prison.

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Guilty Plea Entered in County Fair Embezzlement Case

A former county employee accused of embezzling from the Arlington County Fair has pleaded guilty to all counts against her.

Denise Marshall Roller pleaded to 11 felony counts, including embezzlement, forgery and money laundering. The 48-year-old Fredericksburg, Va. resident had worked since 2005 as the county fair’s event manager. She resigned last May, after police were tipped off to suspicious activity.

Investigators discovered that between February and May of last year, Marshall Roller deposited nearly $12,000 of checks intended for the fair into a fraudulent bank account. Court documents show she submitted forged bylaws to a local bank, which apparently allowed her to open an account in the fair’s name. She withdrew portions of the money over the three month period for her personal use, prosecutors said.

When confronted about the account by colleagues, police say Marshall Roller initially claimed she had set up a personal account at the bank and mistakenly deposited a county fair check into the account.

Marshall Roller is scheduled to be sentenced on April 27.

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Plea Expected in County Fair Embezzlement Case

A plea is expected in the case of a former county employee accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the Arlington County Fair.

Denise Marshall Roller, 48, is facing 11 felony charges including embezzlement, forgery and conducting unlawful financial transactions. The Fredericksburg, Va. resident worked as the fair’s event manager between 2005 and 2011, under a Memorandum of Understanding between Arlington County (her employer) and the nonprofit that runs the fair.

According to court records, Marshall Roller is expected to enter a plea in Arlington County Circuit Court on Tuesday, Jan. 31. She was indicted by a grand jury in September and was originally slated to stand trial on Monday, Jan. 23.

Photo courtesy Arlington County Sheriff’s Office

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EXCLUSIVE: Former County Fair Manager Charged With Embezzlement

A former Arlington County employee has been charged with embezzling funds from the Arlington County Fair, ARLnow.com has learned exclusively.

Denise Marshall Roller, 47, has been charged with four felony counts of embezzling from the non-profit Arlington County Fair, Inc., one felony count of embezzling public funds, two felony counts of forgery and four felony counts of conducting unlawful financial transactions. She was indicted by a grand jury in September and released on a $5,000 bond in October, according to court documents. She’s scheduled to face trial on Jan. 23, 2012.

Marshall Roller, a resident of Fredericksburg, Va., had worked as the county fair’s event manager since at least 2005. A county employee since August 2003, Marshall Roller worked for the fair under a Memorandum of Understanding between the county and the non-profit that organizes the fair, said county and fair officials. Before being hired by the county, Marshall Roller helped to organize the annual Taste of Arlington event in Ballston.

Marshall Roller’s legal woes started in early May of 2011, when the fair’s Board of Directors discovered the alleged embezzlement, according to Arlington County Fair Board Chairwoman Tiffany Kudravetz. The Board brought the matter to the attention of Marshall Roller’s supervisor, Kudravetz said, and the matter was referred to the Arlington County Police Department.

In a statement emailed to ARLnow.com, Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan said the county acted swiftly after the allegations came to light.

“The County acted immediately upon learning of allegations that Arlington County Fair funds had been misappropriated by a County employee,” Donnellan said. “It turned the matter over to the Arlington County Police Department and appropriate action was taken with the employee. After investigating, ACPD turned the results of its investigation over to the Commonwealth Attorney’s office. The employee is no longer with the County. The Grand Jury has handed down an indictment. This matter is now before the Court.”

The alleged crimes took place between February and May of this year, according to court documents. Prosecutors declined to disclose exactly how much was supposedly taken, but organizers say the fair is not currently in financial trouble.

“I think we’ll be fine,” Kudravetz said.

Marshall Roller resigned her position in May, county Director of Human Resources Marcy Foster told ARLnow.com. She had been working within the Arlington County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, according to county spokesman Mary Curtius. A new county-employed event manager took over for Marshall Roller in May.

The Arlington County Fair, which celebrated its 35th anniversary this year, went off without a hitch in August.

Kudravetz says fair organizers are considering a new Memorandum of Understanding that would eliminate the county-staffed event manager position in favor of placing several county employees on the fair’s board of directors.

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Sewage Plant Contractor Sues Former Employee

A top manager in charge of the project to upgrade Arlington’s Water Pollution Control Plant embezzled nearly $5 million from the project’s contractor, according to a lawsuit filed in St. Louis two weeks ago.

Alberici Contractors Inc. says it did not over-charge Arlington County for its work on the $568 million project as a result of the embezzlement. Instead, the company says that the embezzlement cut into its own profits on the project.

The St. Louis Business Journal reported today that Jeff Oliver, the company’s project director for the sewage plant upgrade and expansion, is being sued for $4.8 million. Alberici says Oliver conspired with two subcontractors to over-bill the company.

Alberici’s internal investigation reportedly found that no county employees were involved. In a statement, Arlington County said that it is launching an investigation to verify that the embezzlement did not cost taxpayer dollars and did not involve any county employees.

“We have a special fiduciary responsibility for public funds,” Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in the statement. “We will do everything we can to make sure that the project and Arlington taxpayers were not hurt by these perpetrators.”

The project is nearly complete and Oliver “is no longer associated with the project,” the county said.

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Morning Notes

It’s National Donut Day — Head out to your local Dunkin’ Donuts today to get a free donut — with a drink purchase — in celebration of National Donut Day. Or, if you care to venture outside of Arlington, Krispy Kreme is giving out free donuts with no purchase necessary. Don’t know where your local donut store is? TBD’s Mandy Jenkins created this handy Google map just for you.

Arlington Restaurateur Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement — Roberto Donna, who owned the now-defunct Bebo Trattoria restaurant in Crystal City, pled guilty yesterday to felony embezzlement, Washington City Paper’s Tim Carman reports. Donna must repay Arlington County the more than $150,000 he owes in unpaid meal taxes. Donna isn’t the only one who owes the county big bucks. According to the City Paper, Arlington Catering Company, owners of the recently-shuttered Restaurant Vero, owes $78,297 in delinquent meal taxes.

Lyon Hall’s Outdoor Patio Open for Business — You can now have a prime outdoor seat to go with your Silly Saison and Hungarian lamb sausage mussels. Lyon Hall has rolled out the folding white umbrellas and steel tables and is now helping to bring some street life to Washington Boulevard. Perfect DC Bites has more.

Zimmerman Fires Back At HOT Lanes Letter — “Nonsense” is how County Board Vice Chairman Chris Zimmerman described some of the arguments made by local business leaders — including Arlington Chamber of Commerce President Richard Doud — in a letter asking the county to drop its lawsuit against High Occupancy Toll lanes on I-395. More from the Sun Gazette.

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